With politically-charged pipeline maneuvering and international climate jockeying taking up most of the attention this week, three major wind power purchases show how clean energy is chugging along amid all of the rousing rhetoric.
On Tuesday, IKEA announced its biggest renewable energy purchase to date: a 165 megawatt wind farm in southern Texas. This is IKEA’s second U.S. wind power purchase, the first coming earlier this year with a 98 megawatt investment in Illinois. IKEA, which plans to invest $1.9 billion in wind and solar power by the end of 2015, also has wind farms in the U.K., Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Poland, and Sweden. Together, IKEA’s U.S. wind farms are expected to generate nearly 1,000 gigawatt-hours of electricity per year — equivalent to the average annual electricity consumption of around 90,000 American households, according to the company.
“IKEA believes that the climate challenge requires bold commitment and action,” Rob Olson, IKEA U.S. acting president and CFO, said in a statement. “We invest in renewable energy to become more sustainable as a business and also because it makes good business sense.”
Also on Tuesday, Google announced it was purchasing the entire output of a Dutch wind farm to fuel its new datacenter in the Netherlands. According to the company’s statement, the Eemshaven datacenter will be 100 percent powered by renewable energy from its first day of operation in the first half of 2016. Run by the Dutch energy company Eneco, the new wind farm is an onshore-offshore development that will use 19 turbines to generate 62 megwatts of renewable energy. This is Google’s eighth long-term agreement to purchase renewable energy.
“We sign these contracts for a few reasons: they make great financial sense for us by guaranteeing a long term source of clean energy for our datacenter and they also increase the amount of renewable energy available in the grid, which is great for the environment,” states the announcement.
And finally, on Monday, SunEdison, a leading global solar developer, and TerraForm Power, the company’s power plant subsidiary, announced the acquisition of First Wind, a a major wind power developer, owner, and operator. The company says this $2.4 billion transaction will make it the “leading global renewable energy development company.” After the announcement the company’s stock rose 29 percent.
With the purchase, SunEdison raised its 2015 project installation estimate from 1.6–1.8 gigawatts to 2.1–2.3 gigawatts.
“We are excited to become part of the SunEdison team,” Paul Gaynor, CEO of First Wind, said in a statement. “This new strategic organization will allow us to join with SunEdison to develop and invest in new, long-term-contracted, well-sited and well-run renewable energy projects that deliver clean energy to homes and businesses across the country and internationally.”