Apple’s €850 million Irish data centre finally gets the green light
Apple has been given the green light to build the first data hall for a huge new data centre on a 197-hectare site near the west coast of Ireland.
Irish planning body An Bord Pleanála gave Apple’s first data hall the go ahead on Wednesdaydespite opposition from a number of individuals and local businesses.
The planning body said the data centre will provide the area with a significant economic boost, adding that they took into account how hard it is to find sites that are able to accommodate huge data centres that need to be connected to the national grid.
Apple has received planning permission to build just one data hall but it hopes to build a total of eight on the site over the next 10-15 years. The iPhone maker will have to apply for planning permission every time it wants to open a new data hall.
The facility will be built in the middle of a forest just outside the small town of Athenry in County Galway. It will initially consist of a single data hall, an administration building, and other associated developments.
Over 200 people will be employed in the building of the data centre, while a significantly smaller number of IT workers and data centre technicians will operate the facility when it’s built.
The data centre — which Apple says will be totally powered by renewable energy — will be built on land that state forestry company Coillte used for growing and harvesting non-native trees. Apple plans to restore native trees to Derrydonnell Forest and create an outdoor education space for local schools, as well as a walking trail for the community.
Apple Maps/Skitch/Sam Shead
Apple’s Irish data centre plans were approved last September by Galway County Council but they were held up after a number of appeals were made to An Bord Pleanála. Appellants raised concerns over the impact on the local wildlife, the data centre’s energy usage, and flooding, among other things.
Apple wants to use the data centre to store European user data and to help power online services including the iTunes Store, the App Store, iMessage, Maps, and Siri for customers across Europe,according to a press releaseannouncing the development in February 2015.
The Cupertino company was hoping to have the facility up and running by early 2017 but that target date now looks unrealistic given Apple is yet to start any building work.
Some 5,500 of Apple’s 18,300 European staff are based in Ireland, which is also home to its European headquarters. The company has pledged to hire an additional 1,000 staff in Ireland before 2017.
Elsewhere in Europe, Apple is planning to build a data centre in Denmark on the same scale as the one in Ireland. The company does not reveal where all of its data centres are but reports suggest Apple also has data centre facilities in Newark, Santa Clara, and Cupertino on the west coast of the US, as well one in Maiden on the east coast.
Business Insider contacted Apple about the data centre completion date but did not immediately hear back.