Originally announced in February 2015, Apple is giving up on trying to build the new facility.
The town of Athenry was at one point set to be home to Apple’s next $1 billion data center, but after three years of trying to build it, Apple has given up and will go elsewhere.
As Reuters reports, plans for an Athenry data center were first announced in February 2015. The location was chosen mainly because of easy access to green energy, but what Apple didn’t expect was the delays due to appeals by locals not to allow it to be built.
It was argued that the data center would have a negative impact on local animal populations, increased the chances of local flooding, and the proximity of the site to a nuclear power plant was also used in an attempt to thwart Apple’s planned construction. It worked, as Apple is now walking away.
It looked as though the data center would finally go ahead in October last year when Ireland’s High Court ruled in Apple’s favor, but an appeal was taken to the Irish Supreme Court, which delayed the project once again. Unwilling to wait for the conclusion of that, Apple just killed the project, stating, “Despite our best efforts, delays in the approval process have forced us to make other plans and we will not be able to move forward with the data center.”
Locals involved in the action against Apple may be rejoicing, but it is sure to be short-lived. Tech companies bring thousands of jobs to Ireland, with Apple already employing over 6,000 people there. The Irish government is therefore changing its planning regulations so that in future data centers are classed as “strategic infrastructure.” By doing so, gaining planning approval for new ones will be a much quicker and easier process.
So while Athenry won’t be getting an Apple data center, it could have a few of them popping up from other tech companies in the next few years.