Apple to invest €1.7B in 2 data centres in Europe

Apple detailed plans to heat Danish homes as part of a €1.7 billion ($1.9 billion) investment in two new European data centres.

The U.S. company today announced it is constructing two new data centres in the region--one in the Republic of Ireland, and the second in Denmark--in what CEO Tim Cook said is the company's biggest project in Europe so far. The new centres will be used to power Apple's online services including iTunes Store, App Store, iMessage, Maps and the company's Siri smartphone voice activation software.

Each data centre will cover 166,000 square metres, with both scheduled to open in 2017.

"We are grateful for Apple's continued success in Europe and proud that our investment supports communities across the continent," Cook stated, adding: "We're thrilled to be expanding our operations, creating hundreds of local jobs and introducing some of our most advanced green building designs yet."

Those 'green' initiatives include a plan to re-deploy excess heat generated by the new Danish data centre to local homes. Apple is also siting the facility next to an electricity substation to remove the need for its own generators. In Ireland, the company plans to build on land that was previously used to grow non-native trees, and re-plant indigenous trees. Both data centres will, in future, use renewable energy sources including wind power, which Apple said means the facilities will have the lowest environmental impact of any of the company's data centres.

Lisa Jackson, Apple's VP of environmental initiatives, said that the company believes that "innovation is about leaving the world better than we found it," and that Apple is "excited to spur green industry growth in Ireland and Denmark and develop energy systems that take advantage of their strong wind resources."

The company also said that the new centres demonstrate its commitment to Europe, noting it already directly employs 18,300 people across 19 countries in the region, and spent at least €7.8 billion with European companies and suppliers in 2014.

That reference to the number of jobs Apple creates directly and indirectly in Europe--the company said it supports nearly 672,000 European jobs in total--could be taken as a rebuttal of criticism regarding Apple's tax arrangements in the region.

The company runs 60 per cent of its profits through three Irish businesses, where local laws allow companies to cut their tax liability, BBC News reported. Other companies including Google and Facebook also have operations in Ireland, the news outlet said.

Apple and Google were among four companies that agreed a voluntary code of conduct covering in-app purchases in free to download apps in the European Union earlier this month.

For more:
- see this Apple announcement
- view this BBC News report

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