Apple axes $921m data centre project in Denmark for ‘business’ reasons
The company’s European data centre expansion plan is certainly not going to plan after the axing of its €850m data centre in Ireland as a result of planning delays.
Apple has axed plans to build a second $921m data centre in Denmark after buying the land for it back in 2017. Construction had already started at the 285-hectare site in Kassø, Aabenraa Municipality. The southern Jutland, Denmark location is near the German border.
According to the the local municipality (council) it had a brief phone conference with Apple today, and it says Apple’s decision is “strictly a business decision”, as it wishes to “concentrate on construction of its data centre in Viborg”.
Viborg, in central Jutland, was Apple’s first data centre project – said to be worth $950m – and is already behind schedule after it was supposed to be built last September, before then being delayed until April this year. That same month, construction workers were told to get off the site after a dispute between Apple and its contractors over the ongoing delays to the project.
Aabenraa Municipality managing director Stig Isaksen said: “We were very surprised to learn during a conference call with Apple today that Apple wishes to sell its building site in Kassø. Aabenraa Municipality has been collaborating with Apple for a long time on creating a solid basis for one of the largest data centres in the world.
“At the same time, though, I believe – based on my conversation with Apple today – that this is a strategic business decision made in the US, completely independent of events here in Aabenraa Municipality.”
Time is precious, but news has no time. Sign up today to receive daily free updates in your email box from the Data Economy Newsroom.
Soon after Apple bought the site, Google purchased another large site close by. Aabenraa Municipality says it is now in contact with other companies in the data centre industry interested in setting up in Denmark and Aabenraa. It says it is assisting Apple in the land sale, with Apple having no other plans for the site.
Mayor of Aabenraa Municipality Thomas Andresen said: “This is, without doubt, an unwelcome bump in the road for Aabenraa Municipality’s long-term effort to translate the construction of data centres in the municipality into jobs and increased settlement.
“Fortunately, Apple is not the only player in the market, and we have – as is evident from our Data Centre Strategy – a targeted strategy that aims, among other things, to have two data centres up and running and two on the drawing board by 2022.
“We will continue to work hard to achieve this goal, even though this unexpected news from Apple today may cause a delay.”
People unfamilair with the area might have been confused as to why Apple wanted two massive data centres in roughly the same part of Denmark anyway, which is a good question.
Jutland though is the closest part of Denmark to established and newer subsea transatlantic cables coming into the Nordics, is not far from the capital Copenhagen and it borders Germany, including a relatively short interconnected distance from Germany’s second city Hamburg.
There is also plenty of renewable energy in Jutland to power data centres, which is also a major reason why Google chose the place. Then again, why have two $900m-plus data centres basically in the same place, that is one big secondary data centre configuration?
So if Jutland 2 and Ireland are off the board, where is the next Apple data centre in Europe going to be, that is the bigger question?