Apple to fund green energy projects to power €850m Galway data centre

29 Apr 2015

Wind energy image via Shutterstock

Apple will directly fund at least six Irish renewable energy projects, amounting to a potential additional investment of €400m on top of the €850m the company is investing in a green data centre in Athenry, Galway.

In February, Apple revealed its plans to invest €1.7bn to build and operate two data centres in Europe that will be 100pc powered by renewable energy. One will be located in Athenry on Ireland’s west coast and the other in Denmark’s central Jutland.

Both data centres will power Apple’s online services, including the iTunes Store, the App Store, iMessage, Maps and Siri, for customers across Europe.

The new €850m Athenry data centre will be the company’s largest data centre project in Europe, providing 300 jobs during its multiple phases.

According to The Irish Times, Apple this week sought partnership proposals from developers for a number of new green energy projects, each up to 50 megawatts capacity.

The Galway data centre will require capacity of more than 300 megawatts.

Successful bidders could be outright acquired by Apple or could enter into contracts for up to 20 years’ duration.

Apple has stipulated that proposals must be eligible for subsidies under the Irish Government’s REFIT Programme for wind, hydro and biomass energy.

Bidders must be ready to switch on in 2017 or 2018 and proximity to Galway will be considered an advantage.

Green is the new gold for Ireland

Last week we pointed out that the data centre industry – already substantial here in Ireland – is looking to renewable energy to power its multi-billion dollar facilities.

If Ireland plays its cards right it could be setting the scene for a whole new industrial wave where data centres and transatlantic fibre providers could pave the way for massive volumes of digital business and entertainment to criss-cross these shores in an environmentally sustainable way.

Last week it emerged that sub-sea network provider AquaComms received the financial backing and planning approval to bring a US$300m sub-sea fibre optic network ashore at Killala in Mayo.

The company has also confirmed that it will build a 5,400km high-speed data connection linking the financial and entertainment hub of New York with Kilalla, connecting New York with the rest of Europe in a fraction of milliseconds.

AquaComms will use the existing CeltixConnect cable system to work with America Europe Connect (AEConnect) to simultaneously carry more than 200,000 4K video and 150,000 8K video channels along with 20m 4G mobile calls at the same time.

Wind energy image via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years