With an eye toward implementing a renewable energy program, IKEA is buying a wind farm in eastern Illinois that will generate more electricity than is used by all the IKEA stores in the United States.

The furniture chain hopes that the purchase of the 98-megawatt Hoopeston, Ill., wind farm will help it reach its goal of generating as much energy through renewable means as it consumes worldwide by 2020. Hoopeston Wind, located about 110 miles south of Chicago, will be fully owned by IKEA and managed by Apex Clean energy.

"The U.S. has amazing wind and sun resources that will never run out. We are delighted to make this investment -- it is great for jobs, great for energy security, and great for our business. Importantly, it's great for the future of our climate," says Steve Howard, chief sustainability officer, IKEA Group. 

The financial details of the deal were not released.

IKEA made it clear that this is not a publicity stunt, but part of the company's long-term plan. To help back this claim, the company is not receiving any tax breaks or incentives from the state or county.

Adding up all its renewable energy programs, IKEA In 2013 produced 1,425 GWh of energy, the company said. Gigawatt hours are used to measure the output of power stations.

"Part of that calculation isn't just the immediate return on investment. It's also looking at the future growth in energy costs and making sure we can offset that in the future," said Rob Olson, chief financial officer of IKEA US, adding that the company has no intention of losing money on this deal.

When it is complete, the facility will cover 34,000 acres and will have 49 wind turbines that will generate 380 gigawatts of power per year. IKEA said this is equal to the energy used by 70 of its stores, 10 percent of the total energy used by IKEA Group worldwide, and 130 percent of the heat and electricity used by IKEA US.

In more general terms, the wind farm could cover the electricity needs of 34,000 homes and result in a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions equal to removing 55,000 vehicles from the road.

Wind is not the only form of renewable energy that IKEA has adopted. It has installed 550,000 solar panels on company buildings in nine countries. It has also installed a geothermal heating and cooling system into its store in Centennial, Colo., with another being added to a new Kansas City-area store.

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