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IKEA Invests In Wind Power At Its U.S. Facilities

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There's another sign that the big corporations are taking the idea of alternative energy and energy sustainability quite seriously.

Swedish home furnishing retailer IKEA announced last week it is investing in wind power, with the purchase of the Hoopeston Wind facility in Illinois. The company says the 98 megawatt wind farm is the largest single renewable energy investment to date, worldwide, and a milestone in IKEA's goal to generate as much renewable energy as it consumes by 2020.

The Hoopeston project is under construction and expected by be fully operational by the middle of 2015. Once online, it is expected to generate 165 percent of the equivalent of the electricity consumed by IKEA's 38 stores, five distribution centers, two service centers and one factory in the U.S.

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“We are committed to renewable energy and to running our business in a way that minimizes our carbon emissions, not only because of the environmental impact, but also because it makes good financial sense,” Rob Olson, CFO of IKEA U.S., said in a press statement. “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.”

IKEA has also been a pioneer in the corporate use of solar energy, having invested more than a half-million solar panels on its buildings in nine countries. And in the U.S., solar installations have reportedly been completed on 90 percent of IKEA locations.

The Chicago Tribune, meanwhile, lists a variety of high-profile companies that have already made major commitments to alternative energy – including Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT), Facebook (NASDAQ: FB), Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) and Walmart (NYSE: WMT).

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

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