IKEA buys wind farm in Canada
Global wind and solar company c has closed a deal to sell its 46 megawatt Oldman 2 Wind Farm, located in Alberta, Canada, to IKEA the world's largest furniture retailer.
Mainstream has commenced construction of the project at a cost of approximately $90 million and it is expected to be operational in the autumn of 2014 at which point IKEA will purchase the plant. As part of the deal Mainstream will continue to operate and maintain the wind farm on behalf of IKEA for its lifespan.
“IKEA Canada's investment in renewable energy is a win-win-win. We are able to support the transition to a low-carbon future, reduce our energy and operating costs, and pass those benefits on to our customers by continuing to offer high quality home furnishings at low prices,” said Kerri Molinaro, president of IKEA Canada. “This wind farm in Alberta, along with existing solar installations at three of our Ontario stores, is a significant step to achieving IKEA's global ambition to be energy independent by 2020, producing more renewable energy than we consume.”
This is the second wind farm IKEA has agreed to purchase from Mainstream Renewable Power, having announced the signing of a deal for the Carrickeeny Wind Farm in Ireland in August. 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 IKEA Group's sustainability strategy to generate as much renewable energy as it consumes by 2020. The project will be wholly owned by IKEA Canada, making it the largest wind farm owned by a Canadian retailer.
“Partnering with corporations who want to own wind and solar plant is a very exciting and growing part of Mainstream's global business. This project is a significant investment in Alberta's renewable energy future and one that is badly needed,” said Mainstream Renewable Power's Chief Executive Eddie O'Connor. “This wind farm will deliver power to the Alberta grid at the prevailing market price and is a clear demonstration that wind generation is a viable form of electricity production and one that cannot be ignored.”
Mainstream Renewable Power has a development pipeline of over 19GW globally it is currently constructing solar and wind farms across Ireland, South Africa, Chile and Canada. The company 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.
All but two UK regions failing on school energy efficiency
Most schools are still "treading water" on implementing energy efficient technology, according to new analysis of Government data from eLight.
Yorkshire & the Humber and the North East are the only regions where schools have collectively reduced how much they spend on energy per pupil, cutting expenditure by 4.4% and 0.9% respectively. Every other region of England increased its average energy expenditure per pupil, with schools in Inner London doing so by as much as 23.5%.
According to The Carbon Trust, energy bills in UK schools amount to £543 million per year, with 50% of a school’s total electricity cost being lighting. If every school in the UK implemented any type of energy efficient technology, over £100 million could be saved each year.
Harvey Sinclair, CEO of eEnergy, eLight’s parent company, said the figures demonstrate an uncomfortable truth for the education sector – namely that most schools are still treading water on the implementation of energy efficient technology. Energy efficiency could make a huge difference to meeting net zero ambitions, but most schools are still lagging behind.
“The solutions exist, but they are not being deployed fast enough," he said. "For example, we’ve made great progress in upgrading schools to energy-efficient LED lighting, but with 80% of schools yet to make the switch, there’s an enormous opportunity to make a collective reduction in carbon footprint and save a lot of money on energy bills. Our model means the entire project is financed, doesn’t require any upfront expenditure, and repayments are more than covered by the energy savings made."
He said while it has worked with over 300 schools, most are still far too slow to commit. "We are urging them to act with greater urgency because climate change won’t wait, and the need for action gets more pressing every year. The education sector has an important part to play in that and pupils around the country expect their schools to do so – there is still a huge job to be done."
North Yorkshire County Council is benefiting from the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, which has so far awarded nearly £1bn for energy efficiency and heat decarbonisation projects around the country, and Craven schools has reportedly made a successful £2m bid (click here).
The Department for Education has issued 13 tips for reducing energy and water use in schools.