Apple Defends 15-Year Development Plan for Irish Data Center Amidst Environmental Concerns

Discussion in 'Mac Blog Discussion' started by MacRumors, May 27, 2016.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    Over a year after announcing its plan to spend $2 billion on new data centers in Ireland and Denmark, Apple is now defending its decision for the former location amidst rising concern that its state-of-the-art facilities will have negative effects on local animal populations, and could lead to potential flooding concerns on a neighboring golf course (via Business Insider).

    Irish planning body An Bord Pleanála managed to temporarily halt construction of the Ireland-based data center thanks to these concerns, which were brought to it by a number of individuals and organizations. Its biggest question was asking why Apple chose the middle of Derrydonnell forest in Galway County, Ireland as its planned site for the server farm, given that there are other places in Ireland designated specifically for data center construction.

    Solar panels at Apple's data center in Maiden, North Carolina​

    Apple's senior director of global data center services, Robert Sharpe, explained the vital nature of the European data centers as part of Apple's continued expansion and support for its various services like the App Store, Apple Music, Apple Pay and iCloud. Sharpe said that Apple must pursue this phased development (the Derrydonnell Forest center would be constructed over 10-15 years) to continue to accommodate for more smartphones, more services, and more users expecting quality experiences out of both.
    During the hearing, Sharpe also addressed the environmental concerns raised by locals of the county, claiming that there would be both limited visual pollution to the area thanks to the thickness of the forestry, and that Apple would replenish any wildlife it removed during construction.
    The site in Ireland is planned to consist of eight total buildings each housing thousands of servers for Apple's various online services. The company's original planning application -- which has now been halted by An Bord Pleanála -- is for just one of the eight buildings, so it will have to reapply for each future planned expansion over the next estimated 10-15 years. There was no word yet on the outcome of the hearing in Ireland.

    Sharpe address the various concerns presented to Apple -- including flooding issues and water drainage plans -- in his full opening statement.

    Article Link: Apple Defends 15-Year Development Plan for Irish Data Center Amidst Environmental Concerns
  2. LordQ Suspended


    Sep 22, 2012
    Loving Apple's environmental approach, why is Samsung not copying this?
  3. 69Mustang macrumors 603


    Jan 7, 2014
    In between a rock and a hard place
  4. michaelant macrumors regular


    Apr 8, 2006
    It's in the middle of a forest so the NSA will have a harder time infiltrating it.

    Good luck with that.
  5. Jax44 macrumors 6502a


    Jul 24, 2010
    Carmel, California
    I told Tim they should have added a Pub in the plans...
  6. H2SO4 macrumors 601

    Nov 4, 2008
    Ok, so. Now it may seem that I have a reputation for ragging on Apple, but I do still prefer and buy their products so it’s not all negative.
    Can anybody explain with GOOD reason, ‘why Apple chose the middle of Derrydonnell forest in Galway County, Ireland as its planned site for the server farm, given that there are other places in Ireland designated specifically for data center construction.’.
    To me it appears that they are going to destroy the environment whilst there are already brownfield sites available for them.
  7. Shirasaki macrumors 604


    May 16, 2015
    If Apple is a company pursuing the vision of "Green IT", then this DA (could I say that?) should be reconsidered.
    Destroyed wildlife would be extremely difficult to "replenish" given no one can guarantee he knows everything about "destroyed wildlife".
    I assume Apple knows "Biosphere 2" and its ultimate failure. Therefore, I doubt Apple would actually will spend billions to recover the "destroyed wildlife". This is not Sichuan, China. Heck, environment at there is fragile anyway.
  8. LordQ Suspended


    Sep 22, 2012
  9. Bigsk8r macrumors 6502


    Nov 28, 2011
    Austin, Texas
    The reasons they chose the site are spelled out in the article.

    Also, just because some politicians at a local or regional level took an old section of town and said "data centers go here" does not mean that any forward planning or infrastructure (power & water) have been improved enough to support a large one.
  10. anthonylambert macrumors regular

    Mar 20, 2002
    It's a lot of effort to go to so no one can see that you don't use Apple branded computers in your data center....
  11. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    Apple uses the environment as a marketing tool, others are also doing the same thing, but aren't being so vocal about it
  12. now i see it macrumors 68030

    Jan 2, 2002
    Chop down the forests. I need my Goat Simulator.
  13. 69Mustang macrumors 603


    Jan 7, 2014
    In between a rock and a hard place
    Nope. Not even close. Ireland has at least 15 data centers, including centers for MS, Google, Amazon, and fairly soon Facebook. So the infrastructure is there, and that infrastructure can support a large data center. Multiple larger ones actually. Apple has their reasons for wanting to build where they want to build. Lack of infrastructure in the designated areas for data centers is not one of those reasons.
  14. macfacts macrumors 68030


    Oct 7, 2012
    You think the current power and water infrastructure in the forest is better than what they have in place for that "old section" of town?
  15. RedOrchestra Suspended

    Aug 13, 2012
    WOW ... Apple seems to be going full-bore at un-endearing themselves throughout the world - never good to get the yet another bully American tag.
  16. H2SO4 macrumors 601

    Nov 4, 2008
    So that’s no.
  17. smacrumon, May 27, 2016
    Last edited: May 27, 2016

    smacrumon macrumors 68030


    Jan 15, 2016
    That's it. In the face of considered opposition, Apple just plows straight ahead. This truely solidifies my view that Apple is becoming the McDonald's of the tech industry. All marketing glow and shine and no substance.
  18. Kabeyun macrumors 68000


    Mar 27, 2004
    Eastern USA
    Wait a tick. The Irish planning body "managed to stop construction"?? Wasn't there some sort of process before they broke ground? Did they not have a chance to raise these concerns before Apple started building the thing? After all, they are the Irish planning body.
  19. nagromme macrumors G5


    May 2, 2002
    Won't someone think of the golfers!

    They're not doing the same thing, though. They're doing "something" and letting people tell themselves it's "the same." (A long-time trend in Apple's competition.)
  20. bstpierre macrumors 6502a

    Mar 28, 2008
    Just because they halted construction does not necessarily imply that construction had begun. It is also possible that construction was approved and then the local golfers got wind of it and complained.

    My guess for why they chose this spot instead of the designated data center spot is likely a large difference in real estate prices for the two areas. (just a guess on my part)
  21. Marshall73 macrumors 65816


    Apr 20, 2015
    Stick it out away from towns etc, lower temps, better heat exchange, lower cooling costs.
  22. robotica macrumors 6502a


    Jul 10, 2007
    Come on Apple building in the middle of a Forrest is no way to save the environment.
    It may be a commercial Forrest but building your data centres which are massive building there means there will be no forest at all where your buildings are.

    Why not use one of the sites that have been pre approved?
  23. NervousFish2 macrumors regular


    Mar 23, 2014
    Ok, some context here (I live in Ireland). The first thing to observe is that there is a general tendency towards NIMBYism in Ireland. This can be both pro- and anti-environment, depending on the situation. Some people don't want wind turbines blotting their skyline, others fear large data centers flooding their golf courses. As this is already a commercial forest, it is quite likely that it is composed entirely of non-native coniferous trees that were planted in the country, from the 1960s, onwards. These were grown largely to provide biomass for energy, and other projects. They're dreadful things, however. And in some ways, they've blocked the more serious task of building out real forest in the country (which we need, for all kinds of reasons). The planning process in Ireland is not very open, to my knowledge, but citizens do have the possibility in certain circumstances to demand hearings or inquiries, and my guess is that this is what has caused the delay here. No clue how the process will be resolved, but the Irish state has generally been quite favorable to Apple (i.e., the country is effectively a tax haven for the company!). If precedent is any indicator, this will be approved. In the end, given Apple's focus on renewable energy, that's probably closest thing to a win-win for the local environment. And the economy may benefit, too. But longer-term, Apple still have serious EU-level cases outstanding when it comes to Irish tax policy. That's the real story to watch.
  24. Kabeyun macrumors 68000


    Mar 27, 2004
    Eastern USA
    I nominate this for quotation of the year! LMAO!!

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