Ikea uses sustainability to drive innovation and shape investments. The company’s latest investment involves a 7.65 megawatt Carrickeeny wind farm, which it plans to purchase from global wind and solar company Mainstream Renewable Power.
Mainstream has started construction on the project, which is located in Leitrim in the northwest of Ireland and is expected to be operational in early 2014. As part of the deal, Mainstream will operate and maintain the wind farm on behalf of Ikea for its 20-year lifespan.
The Ikea Group has plans to invest £1.5 billion in wind energy and solar programs up to 2015. Wind energy is a key part of the company’s sustainability strategy to generate as much renewable energy as it consumes by 2020. This acquisition will increase the total number of wind turbines that the Ikea Group has committed to owning and operating to 137.
"Mainstream Renewable Power is delighted to be partnering with Ikea, a true world leader in corporate sustainability,” said Mainstream Renewable Power's chief executive Eddie O'Connor. “Partnering with corporations who want to own wind and solar plants is a very exciting and growing part of Mainstream's global business. We are being approached by a growing number of energy-intensive corporations in the retail, IT and mining sectors who want to invest in our large portfolio of wind and solar plant being developed across four continents.”
Owning wind and solar plants makes a lot of sense on a number of levels, explained O’Connor. As the cost of the fuel is free, the more of it corporations have, the more stability and certainty they have in relation to their energy costs in the long-term, according to O’Connor.
"Our investments in renewable energy not only help to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from our operations in Ireland, but also, together with our energy efficiency efforts, help to control our electricity costs so we can pass any benefits to our customers by continuing to offer high quality home furnishings at low prices,” said Joanna Yarrow, head of sustainability Ikea UK and Ireland. “Companies, individuals or governments — we all have responsibility to address the resource dilemma and commit to a more sustainable future. Producing our own affordable, renewable electricity gets us one step closer to becoming completely energy independent by 2020, while ensuring our commercial success."
Mainstream Renewable Power is one of the world's leading independent developers of renewable energy projects. With a development pipeline of more than 19GW globally it is currently constructing solar and wind farms across Ireland, South Africa, Chile and Canada. Mainstream is developing just under 8GW of offshore wind projects in England, Scotland and Germany with 4.45GW of secured grid connection for these offshore projects. It employs more than 160 staff across four continents with offices in Berlin, Cape Town, Chicago, Dublin, Glasgow, Johannesburg, London, Santiago and Toronto.