High Court Greenlights Apple Data Center Build in Ireland

Judge dismisses two appeals to planning permission for $1 billion project

Yevgeniy Sverdlik

October 13, 2017

2 Min Read
Rendering of the future Apple data center in Waukee, Iowa

Ireland’s High Court has overruled objections by those opposed to the planned Apple data center in the west of the country, greenlighting the $1 billion project, stalled for nearly two years because of multiple appeals to planning permission it received in 2015. A judge dismissed two appeals to the permission Thursday, Reuters reported.

The project in County Galway was supposed to be part of a $2 billion two-location push to expand the company’s physical infrastructure to support the iTunes Store, the App Store, iMessage, Maps, Siri, and other services for users in Europe announced in February 2015. The Apple data center in Denmark, second of the two projects, is expected to come online this year, and the company has already announced plans to build a second, $961 million server farm on that site.

Objections to the Irish build included everything from noise, traffic, and light pollution to potentially higher risk of flooding on a nearby golf course and disruption of a local population of bats. Also controversial was the amount of energy the facility would consume and whether or not it would strain the electrical grid’s capacity – something Microsoft has been wrestling with in Ireland as well.

In September, The Irish Independent reported that Microsoft had decided to install 16 gas-fueled generators to power an expansion it’s building on its data center campus outside of Dublin because the utility that serves it was having trouble keeping up with demand. Last week, Microsoft also announced a power purchase agreement with GE – a contract to buy all energy generated by a 37MW wind farm GE is building in southwest Ireland.

Related:Apple Data Center and Servers FAQ

The Apple data center project is expected to start with one data hall, but the company envisions an eight-facility data center campus at the location. It will have to seek a separate planning permission for each future expansion.

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