A solar array at one of Apple’s existing data centers in North Carolina

Update: Business Insider reports that the decision has been further delayed. The planning body An Bord Pleanála has said that it won’t be able to reach a decision now until 11th August as it needs more time to consider the impact of the infrastructure needed to support the data center.

Apple has responded to environmental objections to its planned $950M data center, arguing that the proposed development is necessary, would meet projected demand for the next 10-15 years, and would pose no risk to the local environment.

Although Apple was initially given the go-ahead for the center, construction had to be delayed when appeals against the decision were filed. The planning body, An Bord Pleanála, asked Apple to respond to five concerns, and Business Insider has now seen a transcript of the company’s oral response …

Apple’s senior director of global data centre services Robert Sharpe opened with a statement in which he explained why the data center is needed.

Apple is experiencing huge demand for our hugely popular services including the App Store, Apple Music, Apple Pay and iCloud; every day our data centres handle tens of billions of messages, more than a billion photos, and tens of millions of FaceTime video calls.

Our customers expect to be able to stream their videos and listen to their music wherever they happen to be and they have the highest expectations in terms of speed, responsiveness, reliability and quality […] Our approach is to have a geographic spread of data centers.

Sharpe denied that there would be any lasting visual or environmental impact.

The woodland will enable us to make the site largely invisible beyond the site and we are able to improve the overall biodiversity of the site by increasing the proportion of native broadleaf trees.

Apple’s original application had explained that trees removed from the site during construction would be restored afterwards, and that the company would be creating an on-site education center for local schools, as well as a walking trail.

The Irish Independent reports that a local residents’ group had stated that the center would use 300MW of power, which is more than the entire daily usage of Dublin. Apple responded by reiterating that the center would be powered from 100% renewable energy, and that all water supply requirements bar drinking water would be met by harvesting rainwater.

Apple emphasised the 240,000 jobs it had already created across Europe, said that it would create 150 direct jobs and also source from local businesses wherever possible.

The full document can be read here.

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Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

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