Furniture maker signs 12-year agreement for wind power


The Grand Rapids headquarters of office furniture maker Steelcase, founded in 1912, is five stories and 385,000 square feet. Courtesy Steelcase

A global furniture maker has inked a 12-year power purchase agreement for wind energy.

Grand Rapids-based Steelcase said this week that it has signed the agreement with Apex Clean Energy’s Grant Plains Wind project, a 150-megawatt facility in Grant County, Oklahoma, for 25 megawatts of wind power.

Under the agreement, Steelcase is committed to support production of about 100 million kilowatt hours of clean, renewable wind energy each year.

The amount is equal to about 70 percent of Steelcase’s U.S. electricity usage, or roughly the electricity needed to power 9,100 homes a year.

Since 2014, the company said it has invested in renewable energy credits equivalent to 100 percent of its global electricity consumption.

Steelcase said this latest investment will make up nearly half of its renewable energy purchases, directly support the construction of a new clean-energy facility set to begin operations in 2016 and further diversify the company’s renewable energy portfolio.

Jim Keane, Steelcase president and CEO, said the agreement reflects Steelcase’s “long-standing commitment to drive a clean-energy landscape.”

“We are focused on finding new ways to reduce our overall energy use and investing in innovative, economically beneficial projects like this one to take one step closer to a sustainable energy future,” Keane said.

Mark Goodwin, president of Charlottesville, Virginia-based Apex Clean Energy, said his company’s mission is to “accelerate the shift to clean energy,” which he said is achieved by “providing opportunities for visionary companies like Steelcase to participate in the energy market in the manner that makes the most sense for them.”

“Steelcase has proven itself to be a leader in renewables investment, and we’re pleased that Grant Plains Wind fits with its corporate strategy,” Goodwin said.

Steelcase has been supporting renewable energy development since 2001.

The company is one of the top 50 green power users in the U.S., according to the Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, and received a Green Power Leadership Award from the EPA in 2014.

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