IKEA Wind Farm To Cover 165% Of IKEA’s US Electricity Consumption

April 17, 2014 by  
Filed under Green Energy News

IKEA invests in wind

Published on April 16th, 2014
by Sandy Dechert


IKEA invests in wind IKEA plugged in its mammoth stores in Belfast and Dublin last fall.

Not content with photovoltaic solar on 90% of its American rooftops, IKEA has just invested in a 380-gigawatt-hour wind farm big enough to power every one of its stores in the United States—and then some.

The Swedish home goods retailer has picked up a $2 billion project near Hoopeston in Vermilion County, Illinois, approximately 110 miles south of Chicago. From Renewable Energy World:

The 98 MW Hoopeston Wind Project is the largest single IKEA renewable energy investment globally to date and will make a significant contribution to the company’s goal to generate as much renewable energy by 2020 as it currently consumes in total.

By generating 1,425 GWh of energy from renewable sources in 2013, the company had already met the equivalent of 37% of its total energy needs.

Rob Olson, chief financial officer of IKEA US, told the Chicago Tribune:

It’s about taking care of the environment and living within our means….. We invest in our own renewable energy sources so that we can control our exposure to fluctuating electricity costs and continue providing great value to our customers.

Apex Clean Energy, a wind developer based in Virginia, is building the IKEA farm with 49 Vestas V100-2.0MW wind turbines. It’s expected to start up early next year. Some more stats on what it will provide:

  • The electricity needs of 34,000 average American households
  • A reduction in CO2 emissions equal to taking 55,000 cars off the road
  • 165% of the electricity consumed by IKEA US (38 stores, five distribution centers, two service centers and one factory)
  • 130% of the total energy (electricity + heat) consumed by IKEA US
  • 18% of the electricity used by IKEA Group worldwide
  • 10% of the total energy used by IKEA Group worldwide

This American foray into wind power is not IKEA’s only investment in wind farms. Eight other countries have IKEA wind facilities: Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Poland, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. In Canada, IKEA is now the largest retail wind energy investor.

And wind has begun to power an increasing number of impressive retail and corporate installations, according to the American Wind Energy Association. Walmart may have been the first, when it started buying power from a Texas wind farm in 2008. Tech corporations Google, Microsoft, and Facebook are also betting on wind.

“These are companies that often have corporate sustainability or carbon reduction targets and they’re putting their money where their mouth is,” said Emily Williams, senior policy analyst at AWEA. “Making these huge multi-million dollar investments, they’re showing to their shareholders but also to the customers who frequent these businesses [and] use their products that they’re living up to their corporate responsibility.”

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  • translate this numbers in dollars profit maid by these Companies
    they make millions of dollars with clean energy.
    for many years to come.
    next move will be the automobile fleet.
    going electric. Tesla and BMW electric
    to use the produced electricity.
    lots of money to be made.

  • Phew…I was scared that IKEA was actually getting into the business of building wind turbines for a second there. I had a quick flash of nightmares where turbine blades fall off, towers bend in a stiff breeze and the people installing the towers always have a few nuts, bolts and gearboxes left over once they’re finished!

    • Well, they do sell PV-systems. But their largest contribution is proably their great range of LED’s which will truly save a load of electricity around the globe.

      • OTOH, hand I suspect LEDs will become mainstream within a few years. That implies that pushing LED adoption faster will on net decrease demand for only a few years, as afterward the transition nearly everyone will be using LEDs regardless. So the savings from this action will only last for a few years.

        • What a bizarre way of looking at it. Once installed LEDs save ~90% of the power previously used for lighting. This alone has the potential to cut total electricity use worldwide by as much as 15%. The savings last for decades once they are installed and the faster that happens the faster we are making those savings. This is the same logic as saying eventually renewables will produce the majority of grid power so there’s no point encouraging or pushing them now… Doesn’t make sense to me at all.

  • Thats the sort of scale I’d like to see. Not a few token panels that provide ten or twenty percent, but well above one hundred percent. Way to go.

    • It just shows how easy (well, at least not impossible) it would be for companies to take their responsability. You don’t have to be from Sweden to have a conscience AND a thriving business at the same time.
      These investments make sense in many ways, not only environmental but also from a long term economical aspect.

    • Oh… and the well above 100% is because they are well aware that 100% wind (or solar) doesn’t cover 100% during all days and periods of the year. So “just” 100% would mean many days when fossil fuels would be used.

      • No, the wind farm will generate 165% of the TOTAL electricity used by IKEA’s operations in the USA on a yearly basis. Mind you, probably ZERO output from the wind farm will be used by IKEA facilities directly since it is out in the middle of nowhere Illinois. However, the clean wind energy it will generate will displace fossil fuel use on the grid it is hooked up to at least. And again, its yearly electricity production will be 165% of IKEA’s electricity consumption, so they can claim that they “offset” their electricity use and then some with wind power.

        • The usage of electricity differs and the output from the wind farms differes so the use of electricity per year and output per year is a horrible way to try to measure it.
          It would be more interesting to see how many days of the year the generate wind power will cover the electricity used by IKEA.
          By adding a lot more than 100% on a yearly basis then hopefully close to 100% of the days will be covered.
          IKEA don’t do this because of the publicity (well every company will of course use and good publicity they can get) but for the reason to actually try to offset all their electricity used for all days of the year.
          Do you get the difference?

          • I get that you’re trying to minimize what IKEA is doing.

          • Not at all. It’s the other way around. I’m impressed by IKEA actually covering what they use in reality and not just on paper, which just getting 100% would be since it’s not 100% in the real world and when it comes to their real use.

            There is a big difference in being green on paper and being green for real. And IKEA is the latter.

          • So if I have a loan with 36 monthly payments and I pay it off in one I’m not really paying the loan?

          • Bob… you are smarter than that. You know that electricity isn’t something that is used as a one off thing. If you produce all the electricity you need for a year in one day and nothing during the rest of the year it will be a damn dark year.
            With perfect long term storage that would be true, we don’t have that yet. You get my point and you understand why I think it’s responsible of IKEA to add more electricity generation than they use on a yearly basis.

          • Your point in bogus. IKEA is going to produce more electricity than they consume.

            Were this something that caused a problem for the grid that would be a different issue, but it won’t. The end result is that we will burn less fossil fuels thanks to IKEA generating 165% as much electricity as they use over a year.

          • My point is definitely not bogus. I’m not talking about grid issues or that they won’t produce more electricity that they consume. I’m not arguing that this wind will displace a lot of fossil fuels and that what they are doing is great.

            My point is that what they are doing is better than great. It the wind farms produce less than they use for a specific day then that electricity needs to be taken from some kind of back up source, that is normally a coal/natural gas plant or hydro power where avaliable. That means that only adding 100% would lead to many days where gas or coal is needed to be burned to add the rest.
            That’s why you need to go higher than 100% to truly offset the fossil fuels that you are using, which IKEA has done.

            This is a true and valid point until we have good storage solutions so that we can use what we have produced when needed. And it’s something IKEA surely have taken into consideration for being truly green.

          • If I use 500 MWh of electricity a year and I produce 675 MWh with wind/solar/whatever and feed it into the grid does that not mean that 675 MWh less will be generated by some other source?

            If I don’t feed in that 675 MWh but use grid power won’t my 500 MWh be produced with fossil fuels?

          • No it doesn’t. In a perfect world with a perfect storage and no loss then you would be right about that.
            But let’s say that in the worst case scenario then you produce all those 675 MWh during two sunny weeks of the summer. And then when the winter comes you want to use 500 MWh during two really cold and dark weeks.
            Then you will probably get your electricity from almost all fossil fuels and your production will offset alsmost no fossil fuels.
            Even though on paper it might look good with you producing more than you use.

            Thankfully the real world isn’t that depressing, but it’s not perfect either where the wind blows constantly at the same pace every day and where you use exactly the same amount of electricity everyday.

            Which get us back to that it’s a good thing that they bought an over capacity because then hopefully even on days when it’s not blowing that much and days when they use more electricity than other days they still reach a 100% match (or higher) of production vs. usage. Hopefully limiting and even elimiting the need for some fossil back-up to startup because of IKEA.

            You can do this little statistical test at home. If you take a bucket of scolding hot water and one with ice cold water and put one foot in each then on average you should feel great. That is how “on a yearly basis” works.
            With storage then that would be like you could mix the fluids and get the perfect temperature. Or the IKEA way, you get more hot and cold water than needed in a third and fourth bucket so that you can pour it into the buckets that need to be cooled down or heated up to make your feet feel good during every day of the year.

          • I suppose if you drive the argument out onto thin ice you have a point.
            When we get a grid saturated with renewable energy we can look down our noses at what the IKEAs of the world do.

          • No Way, you have consistently ignored the fact that all this wind power will be produced in one wind farm in Illinois. The daily or instantaneous matching of wind farm output to store use is irrelevant as the vast majority of stores will never see a single electron being produced by this wind farm. There is no point discussing anything other than the long term overall annual production vs annual consumption. That’s not a problem, in fact if they site their wind farm in a state with high coal penetration they get even more carbon offsetting bang for their buck then if they produced the power local to every store as many stores are in states like New York and California with grids significantly cleaner than the national average.

          • As a person in Illinois, I can tell you that over 48% of our electricity is from coal, and over 48% is from nuclear, so this is truly excellent news.

            I just went and looked up where Vermilion county is. Way cool! My husband’s family is from there. My mother-in-law is buried in Danville. When we went down there for her funeral, I remarked that the area was perfect for a wind farm. What wonderful news that Ikea is putting one there.

          • With current and predicted levels of renewable penetration, this won’t really be an issue for quite a few years. As penetration levels grow and curtailment of renewables starts happening, then your point becomes valid. But that is at least several years off.

          • No, you still don’t understand. We have a pretty good idea how much energy the wind farm will generate over the course of a year. We have to, otherwise we wouldn’t build the wind farm at the Illinois location in the first place. IKEA has a pretty good idea of how much electricity their U.S. operations use in a year. Over the course of a year, the wind farm will produce 165% of the electricity that IKEA’s operations use every year. These numbers don’t have to balance on a daily basis because IKEA is extremely unlikely to actually use ANY of the output from this specific wind farm, do you understand? They are merely displacing their electricity demand at their various facilities across the country with this one wind farm at one location.

          • Sure I understand… so you say that them buying 165% solar on antarctica where there is not sun during half the year would be enough because when the electricity is used doesn’t matter at all.

        • Middle of nowhere? It’s 110 miles from Chicago. 110 miles is a pretty short distance to transmit electricity.

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