Home goods behemoth Ikea is doing more than designing and building furniture. The company has invested in a wind farm in Vermilion County Illinois about 150 miles to the south of Chicago.
The farm will be big enough to ensure that ever store of Ikeas would never need to purchase power again. Ikea U.S. CFO Rob Olson said it was about taking care of our environment and living within one’s means.
This is the first wind farm investment by Ikea in the United States. The company is amongst a growing number of businesses that have opted to take care of their own energy needs by investing in or buying power produced by the sun and wind.
Microsoft announced last year it would be purchasing power from a Texas wind farm, while Facebook announced it would power up its data center in Iowa using wind far energy.
Over the past couple of years, Google has increased the amount of wind power purchased and is investing in wind projects in Texas, Oklahoma and Iowa.
Walmart Stores is credited by the American Wind and Energy Association with beginning the trend back in 2008, when the world’s largest retailer purchased a substantial amount of energy from a wind farm owned by Duke Energy in Texas.
The project of Ikea’s in Illinois will produce enough power to give electricity that is equal to operating 34,000 homes for a year and is part of the company’s goal of offsetting its own needs of electricity before 2020.
Ikea said the new wind farm would ultimately produce 65% more power than the company operations in the U.S. consume. The U.S. operations encompass 38 stores, five centers of distribution, two centers for service and one factory. In Illinois alone, the company has over 600 employees.
Ninety percent of the Ikea stores have solar panels that flow power directly to the stores. The wind farm in Illinois is not close enough to their properties to power their own energy needs. Instead, the retailer announced that it would sell the power and recoup its costs and then some.
Ikea has wind farm investments in eight countries