Apple sweating on £650m Ireland data centre


appleApple is still sweating on its proposed £650m data centre in Athenry, County Galway.

The electronics giant, which has a net cash pile of £105bn, announced plans for two European data centres, the other in Denmark, in February last year.

Both facilities will run on 100% renewable energy, according to Apple, with the Denmark facility also exporting heat to the local district heating network. 

Apple said it needed to build such a substantial facility to deal with exponential internet traffic, which it said would triple over the next three years and quadruple within the next five.

However, the Galway development, which is expected to have a peak power consumption of 240MW when all eight planned data centres are built, has been called in by planning over noise, traffic and environmental concerns. Apple has also been asked to justify the scale of the development, expected to eventually span 166,000m2. The planning board is also looking at Apple’s plans to build a 220kV substation on the site. Each of the eight data centres, when built, would be subject to separate planning applications.

The initial 22,500m2 hall was initially expected to commence operation in 2017, although that timetable has now been revised to late 2018. Apple said its Denmark facility is close to commencing construction.

An oral hearing with An Bord Pleanála was expected to conclude last week. Concerns range from impact on a nearby golf course, to bats and badger welfare, to proximity to UK nuclear power stations.

A version of this article originally appeared in the June print issue of Mission Critical Power.

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