Friday 15 December 2017

Apple goes Danish as it waits for Athenry

Apple CEO Tim Cook. Picture: Reuters
Apple CEO Tim Cook. Picture: Reuters
Donal O'Donovan

Donal O'Donovan

APPLE has announced plans for a second Danish data centre as its flagship Irish scheme in Athenry, Co Galway remains locked in legal and planning limbo.

The US technology giant said yesterday that it is to spend DKK6bn (€800m) on a new data centre in Denmark - its second in the Nordic country to run entirely on renewable energy.

It will begin operations in the second quarter of 2019 in Aabenraa in southern Denmark, near the German border.

At that rate, the company could have two operational sites in Denmark before its long-planned west of Ireland project is up and running.

In February 2015, Apple -led by CEO Tim Cook -unveiled plans for an €850m data centre campus in Athenry, Co Galway. At the same time, the first data centre in Denmark was announced. The latter is at an advanced stage of construction and is expected to be operational this year.

But the Athenry project, to be build on land provided by Coillte, is not yet under construction. It has been bogged down by both planning appeals and court proceedings, leading the tech giant to express concerns to state agencies over the delays.

"We're thrilled to be expanding our data-centre 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 centres, will run on 100pc renewable energy from day one, thanks to new clean-energy sources we're adding," he wrote.

Apple said access to wind power had helped to seal the latest investment.

"The reliability of the Danish grid is one of the main reasons we will operate two sites in Denmark," Mr Stannow said.

The latest investment by Apple in Denmark is likely to cause some alarm here, where the technology giant's planning battles have rolled on into the summer.

In 2016, local authority planners in Galway gave the go-ahead to the Apple data centre relatively quickly, and An Bord Pleanála also cleared the scheme after an appeal sparked by a small number of objections.

However, the decision by An Bord Pleanála has been subject to a request for judicial review by the High Court.

A hearing scheduled for June was delayed due to a lack of judges and until it is completed, what is believed to be the largest private infrastructure investment ever west of the Shannon remains in limbo.

Irish Independent

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