- The U.S. subsidiary of IKEA is buying the 98-megawatt Hoopeston Wind installation in eastern Illinois. When the not-yet-started construction is completed in 2015, the project will supply 165% of the company’s U.S. electricity consumption. The acquisition is part of the multinational Swedish furniture retailer’s global goal of obtaining or offsetting all its global energy consumption with renewables by 2020.
- IKEA bought the fully-permitted project at an undisclosed price from Apex Clean Energy. It is the first U.S. wind buy for IKEA, though the corporation owns wind projects in Denmark, Canada and other countries and has solar on its U.S. retail outlets. The project will receive no local or state incentives, but is eligible for the federal production tax credit of $0.023 per kilowatt-hour, which an IKEA spokesperson said is crucial to its viability.
- IKEA is the third owner of the project planned for farm land just northeast of Champaign, Ill. It is expected to generate over $1 million per year in property taxes for the rural county. Apex will continue as project operator.
IKEA’s spokesperson insisted the company’s commitment to renewables is not greenwashing – but what else would he say? On the other hand, he pointed out that wind energy is the most cost effective generation choice now and, over the 25-plus year life of the project, that is likely to improve. That’s verifiable.
Recent DOE data showed that in states where wind is 7% or more of the electricity supply, power prices drop and where it is less, power prices go up. Exelon has acknowledged that its nuclear facilities are unable to compete with wind in Illinois.
This purchase puts IKEA in the company of corporate giants like Walmart and Google aggressively buying into renewables. They see an economic edge in renewables of value even before it shows up on their electricity bills, according to IKEA’s spokesperson, because the goodwill attracts customers and investors.