Thursday, November 23, 2017

Apple tells Ireland it could pull the plug on $1bn data center project over delays

Shortage of judges, growing bureaucracy and power constraints could prove too much for the iPhone maker which has waited over two years for an approval.

Apple has reportedly told Irish authorities that its $1bn data centre investment in Galway is under threat from ongoing delays over the approval of the project.

Two people familiar with the matter have told Bloomberg that the company has raised its concern over the planning process the data centre has been subjected to, which has delayed the 166,000 sqf site’s breaking ground ceremony for more than a year.

The iPhone X maker is also said to be concerned about potential objection over the power needs of the data centre, which according to local report, would put even more pressure on Ireland’s national grid.

One of the sources said Apple is worried the power issue could delay the project even more.

Apple originally announced its plans to expand its data centre footprint in Ireland in 2015, with an agenda set to open the site in 2017.

However, objectors to the project in Ireland have formally made their voice heard with the country’s authorities and the project has been victim of several delays.

From a shortage of judges to no clear decisions, Apple has found itself to be walking in and out of Irish courts for nearly a year.

Objectors claimed the data centre would have a negative impact in the local area by increasing traffic and noise pollution.

This would also affect the local wildlife, especially bats and badgers who live in the Derrydonnell Forest, adjacent to the proposed construction 500-acre site.

Nevertheless, Apple has gathered local support from thousands of residents who have actively campaigned for the approval of the data centre, both online and on the streets of Galway.

The next court hearing is now scheduled for October 12, and is expected that if approved, the data centre will be up and running by mid-2019.

While the company seeks approval for its Irish data centre, Apple has in the meantime announced a $920m data centre investment plan for Denmark.