Windmills, or wind turbines are not the first thing that comes to mind when people think about furniture retailer IKEA.
However the combination has created a lot of interest in Pincher Creek and southern Alberta.
IKEA has purchased a wind farm that is being built a few kilometres from town. Officials from the town and municipal district officials says it will boost the economy.
Pincher Creek is in a windy part of the province. 270 wind turbines already use the wind to generate power and more are coming, including 20 wind turbines owned by IKEA.
“This will be IKEA’s first wind farm outside of Europe,” said Brendan Shale, IKEA Canada’s Head of Sustainability. “It’s also the largest investment by a retailer in Canada to date in wind energy.”
IKEA’S wind turbines are being built northeast of the Oldman Dam, in the M.D. of Pincher Creek. They will produce enough power to run 32 IKEA stores. That is twice as much power as IKEA uses in Canada.
“IKEA is a corporate citizen and this just shows that they’re looking at green power and how it can play into their commitment globally, I understand. Wind turbines generate revenue, tax revenue to the M.D. and that assists us with maintaining all sorts of programs and services,” said Leo Reedyk, the M.D. of Pincher Creek’s Superintendant of Public Works.
Pincher Creek Mayor Don Anderberg said, “Overall the wind energy business has been really good for the town of Pincher Creek. We get a lot of spinoff from it. It’s attracted a lot of younger people to our town to live and work. We’re seeing a lot younger families here and a little bit of growth so it’s really good for our community.”
In addition to the IKEA windmills that are going up near Pincher Creek, 180 more have been approved in the M.D.
IKEA has wind farms in eight countries. In addition to the one near Pincher Creek, IKEA also has wind farms in the United Kingdom, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, France, Poland and Ireland. It plans to be energy independent, producing more renewable energy than it uses by 2020.
The Pincher Creek wind farm will be fully operational next fall.