The world’s biggest company has been halted in its tracks by residents in County Galway, Ireland who say they don’t want a giant data centre in their back garden.
Apple wants to build an $925-million-dollar data centre on a 500-acre site in Athenry, 25 kilometres east of Galway city. The company had wanted to open the facility by the end of this year or early next.
However, a legal challenge by local residents led by Allan Daly and Sinéad Fitzpatrick has resulted in the High Court of Ireland granting more time to review the project.
The residents, who have formed a group called Concerned Residents of Lisheenkyle, say the data centre “shows disregard for regional and local planning policy . . . The development is not of strategic importance and is not supported by regional policy”.
The residents have also been environmental concerns surrounding the project, according to the Irish Times, which adds that the objections could delay the project by 18 months.
Apple, meanwhile, claims 93 per cent of its energy in 2015 came from renewable sources. The company says it’s “constantly looking for ways to reach 100 per cent”, and further claims it has already reached that goal with data centres.
“Our data centers around the world run on 100 percent clean energy,” says Apple on its website.
The environmental concerns of the residents in Ireland surrounding the proposed data centre there mirror the worries expressed elsewhere around the world around such developments.
In the US, where several million data centres are estimated to be located, some street protests have taken place against them, partly because of their power-hungry operation.
Data centres consume 10 to 50 times the energy of a typical commercial building, according to the US Department of Energy.
But they just keep building them. The largest data centre in the world is currently under way in China and will be 6.3 million square feet when completed