Apple’s Irish Data Center Faces New Challenge as Residents Plan to Fight Back Against Court Approval

Apple has been trying to get its $1 billion data center in County Galway, Ireland built for well over two years now, and last week the company finally won approval for construction by the Irish High Court. While it was expected that Apple would now move forward and begin planning for construction, two local residents have brought up a new legal challenge for the company.

As reported by The Galway Advertiser (via Business Insider), two Athenry residents have requested a certificate to appeal the court ruling made last week that granted Apple permission for the project. The case is said to be due back to the court on Wednesday, October 25. Previously, the same individuals challenged Apple's data center by citing multiple environmental concerns, but their challenge was rejected.

Locals marching in support for Apple's data center last November (via Apple for Athenry)

Environmental protection issues have been the source of the objector's arguments for the last few years, originally arguing that Apple's data center could have negative effects on local animal populations, and could lead to potential flooding concerns on a neighboring golf course. Then, the data center's proximity to a local nuclear power plant was used to bring up new objections to the site's construction, despite the plant having been shut down for years.

Many locals still support Apple's data center in the area, with the leader of the Apple for Athenry Facebook group telling Business Insider that "the collective hearts of Athenry sank" when the new legal challenge was brought up this week.

Apple originally wanted the data center to be up and running by early 2017, but these repeated setbacks have greatly elongated the company's timeline for the site. Once it is functional, the Derrydonnell Forest data center will see ongoing construction over 10-15 years, supporting services like the App Store, Apple Music, Apple Pay and iCloud.


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Apple Wins Approval for $1 Billion Data Center in Ireland

Apple has won approval to build a $1 billion data center in the west of Ireland, successfully fending off an environmental legal challenge brought by local residents (via Reuters).

Ireland's High Court on Thursday ruled that the proposed data center in Galway county, planned by Apple since February 2015, could proceed despite locals' various environmental concerns for the area if Apple successfully built the facility.


The residents against Apple attempted to halt construction last November by claiming that the permission it was granted by independent planning body An Bord Pleanála was invalid.

They alleged that An Bord Pleanála hadn't performed a proper environmental impact assessment of the proposed data center at Derrydonnell. Apple successfully asked the High Court to fast-track the case, and today's approval will likely bring the legal proceedings to an end.

When Apple announced the Irish data center in 2015, it also announced one for Denmark. That center is expected to begin operations later this year.


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Apple Confirms Plans to Build Data Center in Iowa, Contribute Up to $100M to Community Projects

Apple today announced plans to build a 400,000-square-foot data center in Waukee, Iowa, which will provide backend infrastructure for the App Store, Siri, Apple Music, iMessage, and other Apple services in North America.


Apple is investing $1.3 billion into the facility, which it says will create over 550 construction and operations jobs in the Des Moines area.
"Apple is responsible for 2 million jobs in all 50 states and we're proud today's investment will add to the more than 10,000 jobs we already support across Iowa, providing even more economic opportunity for the community," said Tim Cook, Apple's CEO.
Apple also said it will contribute up to $100 million to a newly created Public Improvement Fund dedicated to community development and infrastructure around Waukee. The fund, to be established and managed by the City of Waukee, will support the development of community projects like parks, libraries and recreational spaces, as well as infrastructure needs.
"We're honored Apple is choosing Iowa for the site of its most technologically advanced data center to date," said Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds. "Apple's commitment to innovation and renewable energy leadership mirrors our own. This investment in our state is vital as we continue to develop as a technology hub and grow our workforce."
As part of its pledge to power all of its global operations with 100 percent renewable energy, Apple said the data center will run entirely on renewable energy from day one. Apple noted it will be working with local partners to invest in renewable energy projects from wind and other sources to power the facility.


Apple said construction on the data center is expected to start early next year, with plans to bring it online in 2020.

Iowa's Economic Development Authority reportedly approved a deal on Thursday that will give Apple $208 million in state and local tax breaks to construct two data centers near Des Moines. Apple will reportedly buy 2,000 acres of land for the project, allowing for future development in the area.

Apple's plans to open the facility were first reported by The Des Moines Register on Wednesday. Apple CEO Tim Cook is in Des Moines today for a meeting related to the data center, Iowa state officials confirmed.

Apple already operates several data centers around the world. In the United States, it has facilities located in Reno, Nevada; Prineville, Oregon; Maiden, North Carolina, Newark; California, and Mesa; Arizona.


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Apple to Build New Data Center in Iowa

Apple is planning to build a new data center in Waukee, Iowa, according to a meeting agenda published by the Iowa Economic Development Authority Board and shared by The Des Moines Register.

At a meeting that will take place Thursday morning, the board plans to review Apple's application for investment in the city and will "consider an undisclosed amount of incentives" to encourage Apple to build the data center.

An Apple data center in Reno, via the Reno-Gazette Journal

While the agenda simply suggests Apple is planning some kind of project in Waukee, sources that spoke to The Des Moines Register have said Apple will build a data center, joining Microsoft, Facebook, and Google, companies that also have data centers in the area.

Apple currently has data centers located around the world. In the United States, Apple operates data centers in Reno, Nevada; Prineville, Oregon; Maiden, North Carolina, Newark; California, and Mesa; Arizona.


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Some Supporters of Apple’s Irish Data Center Have ‘Totally Lost Hope’ as Final Verdict Again Delayed

One year ago, Apple began a staunch defense of its proposed data center in Galway County, Ireland, as a group of locals attempted to derail construction by reciting various environmental concerns for the area if Apple successfully built the facility.

The delayed data center was supposed to be met with a decision this week, but now The Irish Times is reporting that a final verdict has been delayed yet again, with the Court Services confirming this week that the case will not be heard until October 12. While there are some residents opposing the data center, there remains a large group fighting with Apple to help bring jobs to the area.

Apple supporters marching last November, via Athenry For Apple Facebook page

According to local resident Paul Keane, who spoke with Business Insider, some of those on Apple's side have "totally lost hope."
But Local resident Paul Keane, who is a member of the Athenry for Apple Facebook group, said: "Some have totally lost hope and more are now more fearful of a complete loss of confidence in investment for the west and long term damage to the country simply because we couldn't get our act together."
The residents against Apple attempted to halt construction last November by claiming that the permission it was granted by independent planning body An Bord Pleanála was invalid. They alleged that An Bord Pleanála didn't perform a proper environmental impact assessment of the proposed data center at Derrydonnell, located on the outskirts of Athenry, where the residents live. Apple successfully asked the High Court to fast-track the case, but a final decision was still set for months later, and now it has been pushed back even further.

When Apple announced the Irish data center in February 2015, it also announced one for Denmark. Construction for that site has completed, and now the center is ready to go live sometime later this year. Around 300 jobs would be created over "multiple phases of construction" at the Irish data center, which would help power Apple's online services across Europe, including iTunes, the App Store, iMessage, Maps, and Siri.


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Apple to Build Second Data Center in Denmark

Apple is set to spend $291 million on a second data center in Denmark run entirely on renewable energy. The news was relayed by the Danish government's Ministry of Climate Energy and confirmed in a statement to Reuters by Apple's Nordic director Erik Stannow.

"We're thrilled to be expanding our data center operations in Denmark, and investing in new sources of clean power," Erik Stannow, Nordic manager for Apple, told Reuters in an email.

"The planned facility in Aabenraa, like all of our data centers, will run on 100 percent renewable energy from day one, thanks to new clean energy sources we're adding," he said.
Apple said the new data center would begin operations in the second quarter of 2019 and would power its online services, including the likes of iMessage, Siri, Maps, and the App Store.

The data center is located in Aabenraa near the German border, which is a couple of hundred miles south of the data center the company has built just outside of Viborg, which is due to start operations later this year.

Apple said a planned data center in Athenry, Ireland, announced in 2015, had yet to begin construction and is awaiting judicial review. Apple faced multiple objections from local groups because of the planned facility's possibly harmful effects on the nearby wilderness. Originally it aimed to have the Irish data center up and running by early 2017.

(Thanks, Daniel!)


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Apple to Use Repurposed Mesa, Arizona Factory to Manufacture Data Center Cabinets

Apple wants to use GT Advanced's former sapphire plant to produce hardware that will be used within its U.S. data centers, according to a notification published by the Federal Register and shared by Business Insider.

Apple is seeking approval from the Foreign-Trade Zones Board to create "finished products and foreign status materials/components" in the factory. Specifically, Apple wants to create "finished server assembly cabinets" and needs permission to use materials sourced from abroad.

gtadvancedlocation
Image via AZCentral

According to the filing, the data center cabinets will be used for "other global data centers." A person with knowledge of Apple's data centers spoke to Business Insider and said Apple's data center server production will be consolidated in Mesa, Arizona.

Servers for Apple's Oregon and North Carolina data centers are currently built and tested on-site, and the same likely goes for other global data center locations. With the Mesa factory, Apple will build and configure all U.S. servers in Arizona and ship them to Oregon and North Carolina.

Apple originally purchased the Mesa, Arizona factory for sapphire manufacturer GT Advanced, but after the sapphire-making company failed to produce sapphire up to Apple's standards and went bankrupt, Apple was left with an empty facility.

Apple announced plans to repurpose the sapphire plant in 2014, and is said to be investing $2 billion to turn it into a "global command center" for Apple's data network. At 1.3 million square feet, the facility is large enough to serve as both a data center and a manufacturing plant for data center equipment.


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