The plan of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) to construct a data center which is worth $960 million in the west coast region of Ireland has experienced another obstacle, as the 114 year old golf club communicated its major opposition. The plot for the new data center of the tech giant is said to be just a kilometer away from the Athenry Golf Club. Last October, the Athenry Golf Club filed an appeal with the Galway County Council, challenging the decision to permit the construction of Apple’s data center.
Based on the appeal submitted by the golf club’s chairperson Mr. Martin Hynes and treasurer Mr. John O’Beirn, their major concern against the data center construction focuses on the alteration of the hydrology of the area. In short, the construction plans of the iPhone maker could possibly increase the golf course’s flood risks.
Furthermore, they also asserted that if the data center construction pushes through, then the Cupertino, California-based tech company should stop the activities every Saturday, since this is the busiest day for the Athenry Golf Club. The golf club’s appeal was made to planning decisions group An Bord Pleanála. The tech company had already made a commitment in its “Environmental Impact Statement” that its construction plan will not make the flooding situation worse around the area.
The iPhone maker has made substantial investments in Ireland. The tech giant’s European headquarters in Dublin has a workforce consisting of 5,500 employees and it aims to hire a thousand more. Last April, the tech giant has obtained permission for its data center construction reaching 263,000 square feet in the Derrydonnell forest, which is close to the golf course. Although Apple is planning to construct just one data center hall, the tech firm could increase this number to 8 as part of its long-term plans for expansion. The company has ramped up its capital expenditure by 30 percent for this year in order to help attain these goals.
Since Apple is too dependent on public and third party cloud servers for the management of its consumer data traffic, having its own data center will help enhance scalability. However, the plans of the iPhone maker has been delayed by oppositions from several segments. In other words, the expected data center launch in 2017 may be pushed further.
The Cupertino, California-based tech giant had committed that it will utilize 100 percent renewable energy sources in order for the data center to operate. Yet, there are no visible renewable energy sources in the area. In addition, the construction of the data center could be harmful to the local wildlife, as well as worsen the traffic conditions and pollution once the project is completed. Together with the review of all the complaints against the data center construction, An Bord Pleanála is awaiting Apple’s detailed information to make a final decision by next month.
The tech firm is not the first company to build data centers in Ireland. Google, Amazon, and Microsoft have already established theirs and the social networking giant Facebook may soon follow their tracks. The majority of these firms have built their European headquarters in Ireland where they experience the benefits of skilled workforce and lower tax rates compared to other countries.