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IKEA teases future as a clean energy supplier as domestic generation soars

Furniture giant IKEA has teased that it could move into the energy supply business within the next three years.

The group’s latest UK & Ireland sustainability report discussed plans to bolster its renewable generation portfolio in the countries, committing to deploying more solar panels on the roofs of its stores as it looks to generate more of its electricity independently.

But in an interview with The Huffington Post, IKEA’s head of sustainability for the UK and Ireland Joanna Yarrow revealed that it was “probable” that the firm would be seen as a “flatpack, meatballs and green energy company” by the end of the decade.

A move from a retail or technology giant entering the energy market has been mooted before. At last year’s Clean Energy Live Co-op Energy boss Ramsey Dunning said there was a “very, very serious possibility” of it happening within the next five years.

“Amazon would probably not want the responsibility. It likes to sell products (rather than services) and be done with it.

“But could I see Apple or Google entering the market? Yes I could. I don’t think they will do it (immediately) round the introduction of smart meters but I could see it with other household applications,” he said at the time.

IKEA would not discuss the plans at greater length when contacted by Clean Energy News, however the plans come at a time when the retailer is producing evermore of its own electricity from renewable sources.

Its renewables facilities in the UK & Ireland generated 43.4% of its total energy consumption in the 2016 financial year at a time when the company has increased its overall energy efficiency by 14% compared to 2010.

The group’s overall aim is to globally produce enough renewable energy to compensate for its total consumption, an aim which will largely be driven by IKEA’s extensive wind farm operations.

Of the 48.9GWh of renewable electricity IKEA generated in FY2016 the vast majority – 46.6GWh, circa 95% - was generated by its wind assets.