How Private Sector Is Driving the U.S. Wind Market

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Wind Turbine

source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/wayne-k/

The onshore wind energy sector is booming in the United States, where there’s enough of the renewable resource on hand to meet the annual demands for 15 million homes. It may take one of the biggest retailers in the world, however, to usher in the necessary change in energy consumption.

The American Wind Energy Association said wind energy in the United States accounted for more than 4 percent of all the electricity generated in the country last year and the trend was on pace to continue. America, the AWEA said, is increasingly powered by wind.

Now Swedish home-furnishing company IKEA says it’s embracing the green energy fad with the purchase of a 98 megawatt wind farm in Illinois, its largest single renewable energy investment to date. The world’s largest furniture chain reported a 2013 profit of $4.5 billion, a 3.1 percent increase from 2012, and Rob Olson, the company’s chief financial officer, said investing in renewable energy made good business sense.

“We invest in our own renewable energy sources so that we can control our exposure to fluctuating electricity costs,” he said.

IKEA says the Hoopeston Wind facility outside of Chicago will provide 165 percent of the electricity needed for its entire U.S. retail and distribution footprint and offset carbon dioxide emissions equivalent to pulling 55,000 cars off the road.

AWEA said wind energy accounted for well over half of the new energy capacity brought online in the U.S. Midwest between 2011 and 2013. The U.S. Energy Information Administration puts the Midwest among the top in terms of wind energy potential and Illinois alone saw a 15.6 percent increase in wind energy from January 2013 to January 2014.

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