Apple looking to wind for new Europe data centres

Consumer electronics and software giant Apple is looking to wind energy to supply power for two giant new data centres in Europe. The company announced on 23 February that the two new data centres, in Denmark and Ireland will run completely on renewable energy, with wind expected to play a major role.

The centres, each with a 166,000 square-metre footprint, will handle the consumer electronics giants’ online services in Europe.

Announcing the €1.7bn investment, Apple said it would “work with local partners to develop additional renewable energy projects from wind or other sources to provide power in the future”.

The corporation’s Vice President of Environmental Initiatives Lisa Jackson said that Apple would “spur green industry growth in Ireland and Denmark and develop energy systems that take advantage of their strong wind resources.”

The data centres will be Apple’s most environmentally friendly yet when they come online in 2017.

The Danish data centre in Viborg will be situated next to a large substation which eliminates the need for additional generators. It will also provide district heating to nearby residents.

Apple CEO Tim Cook said: “This significant new investment represents Apple’s biggest project in Europe to date. We’re thrilled to be expanding our operations, creating hundreds of local jobs and introducing some of our most advanced green building designs yet.”

The data centre industry is one of the most significant and fastest growing consumers of wind and other renewable power in the world. Some estimates put total power consumption from data centres as high as 2% of total world electricity demand.

Corporate sustainability commitments by companies like Apple, Google, Facebook, and Amazon present a major new source of funding for the renewables industry.

On February 10, 2015, Apple and First Solar entered into a 25-year deal worth US$848 million, representing the largest ever power purchase agreement involving a commercial end user.