Furniture retailer IKEA has closed a deal to buy Mainstream Renewable Power’s 7.65 megawatt Carrickeeny wind farm. The wind farm is being constructed in the North West of Ireland and is expected to be operational early next year.
Mainstream Renewable Power will continue to operate and maintain the wind farm for its 20-year lifespan under the agreement. With this new acquisition, IKEA increases the number of wind turbines that it has committed to owning and operating to 137.
IKEA’s long term goal is to power all of its buildings with renewable energy. The company also plans to improve their overall energy efficiency by 25 percent compared to their 2005 levels.
The IKEA Group plans to invest 1.5 billion pounds sterling (US$2.3 billion) in wind and solar projects up to 2015 with wind energy playing an important part of their strategy to reach its renewable energy goals.
The purchase of the wind farm in Ireland will help Ikea reduce their carbon dioxide emissions from their operations in Ireland and control their electricity costs. Head of Sustainability at IKEA UK and Ireland said these benefits will get passed on to customers which they will continue to provide with quality home furnishings at low prices.
IKEA and Solar
Last June, IKEA announced plans to expand the solar array atop its Denver-area store in Centennial, Colorado. The project will more than double the size of the installation and the project is expected to be completed by Fall.
The rooftop array is already the largest single-use rooftop array on a commercial building in Colorado. IKEA plans to add a 623 kilowatt system which will bring up the solar array’s system to 1,121-kW. The expanded system will generate 1,701,000 kWh (kilowatt hours) of clean energy annually and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 1,200 tons a year or the equivalent emissions of 250 cars.
REC Solar, Inc. has been tapped by IKEA to develop, design and install the Centennial store’s solar power system.
The Centennial, Colorado store is just one of IKEA’s many facilities that are powered by the sun. Ninety percent of IKEA’s U.S. buildings (39 of 44 locations) now have solar installations. IKEA is aiming to generate 38 MW of clean energy.
Another one of IKEA’s solar powered facility is its distribution center in Perryville, Maryland. That facility has a rooftop solar array that covers over 71 square meters. The Maryland installation is built with 18,576 solar panels and produces 3.4 million kilowatt hours of clean energy.
Aside from aiming to power its operation from clean energy, IKEA is also taking sustainability quite seriously. Some of their sustainability efforts in the U.S. include recycling waste material, using recycled construction materials, using water-conserving restrooms and incorporating energy-efficient HVAC and lighting.
IKEA has also eliminated plastic bags and phased-out the sale of incandescent bulbs. The company also helps customers recycle their compact fluorescent bulbs and will only sell and use more energy efficient L.E.D.s by 2016. In support of the development of electric vehicles, IKEA has also installed charging stations at several stores in the Western U.S.
Author bio: G. Castaneda is a freelance writer and solar power enthusiast. When he’s not enjoying the outdoors on his bike or hiking up mountains, he’s updating the world on everything solar at solar power today.