$1 billion Apple data center project in Athenry, Ireland cancelled

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Apple has withdrawn its contentious proposal to build a data center in Athenry, Ireland after years of legal challenges.

Athenry, Ireland


Apple's cancellation of the plan comes two weeks after a High Court ruling allowed objectors to restart the appeal process. As a result, Apple would face years of hearings before it could break ground on the facility.

"Several years ago we applied to build a data centre at Athenry," Apple said in a statement to The Independent. "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 centre."

"We've been operating in Ireland since 1980 and we're proud of the many contributions we make to the economy and job creation," added Apple. "In the last two years we've spent over 550 million with local companies and, all told, our investment and innovation supports more than 25,000 jobs up and down the country. We're deeply committed to our employees and customers in Ireland and are expanding our operations in Cork, with a new facility for our talented team there."

Apple unveiled plans to build in Denmark and Athenry on the same day in February 2016. The project in Viborg, Denmark is complete.

The main spearhead behind the resistance to the Athenry data center was Allan Daly. Daly is an American-born immigrant and environmental engineer, and raised multiple objections to the data center. Daly's concerns centered around strain on the Irish electrical grid and no apparent plans to cope with greenhouse gas emissions from the data center.

Apple's project was initially approved by Irish planning councils, but Daly and fellow residents Sinead Fitzpatrick and Brian McDonagh appealed the decision to Ireland's An Bord Pleanala in Sept. 2015. The appeal wasn't granted, forcing Daly to the High Court for review of the case.

Apple's effort wasn't the only one that Daly wants stopped. Daly continues to battle a $1 billion Amazon data center in Dublin.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 48
    monstrositymonstrosity Posts: 2,178member
    Daly sounds a pain in the ass.
    peterhartnetmageSpamSandwichjbdragonjony0durosity
  • Reply 2 of 48
    asciiascii Posts: 5,815member
    It's an international market for these kinds of projects, you snooze you ...
    iGlowEarthanton zuykov
  • Reply 3 of 48
    It's amazing how a single person can hold up progress.  He'll be shutting down the looms in Nottingham next, a la Ned Lud.

    This would have been a benefit to the Irish economy, and provide valuable high tech jobs - attracting other such roles to the area, as Apple does lead the way on this in Ireland.  I don't understand the argument about the strain on the grid, and greenhouse gases... it'll get built somewhere else, AND Apple, of all company, is literally the best at using green energy.  

    I wonder if he'll win against Amazon too?
    Muntznetmagejbdragonbaconstangh2pbshankmagman1979jony0Alex1N
  • Reply 4 of 48
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,040member
    It's amazing how a single person can hold up progress.  He'll be shutting down the looms in Nottingham next, a la Ned Lud.

    This would have been a benefit to the Irish economy, and provide valuable high tech jobs - attracting other such roles to the area, as Apple does lead the way on this in Ireland.  I don't understand the argument about the strain on the grid, and greenhouse gases... it'll get built somewhere else, AND Apple, of all company, is literally the best at using green energy.  

    I wonder if he'll win against Amazon too?
    Data centers need very few employees. That Apple one might have employed fewer than a hundred including the janitorial folks if they're staffed like the others, so they aren't significant employment drivers. I don't think there were any additional plans for nearby energy infrastructure to support it either, it was just tying into the national grid AFAIK so it wasn't driving any other energy plant construction around it. Yeah there would have been a lot of short-term jobs building the data centre itself tho. 
    edited May 10 dysamoria
  • Reply 5 of 48
    It's all too easy to paint large corporations as evil and destructive with manipulative intentions.

    But Apple's record on sustainability speaks for itself - this is a loss to Athenry. Apple will just build this somewhere else, enriching that local population with advanced energy infrastructure, energy competency, skilled employment and other sustainability projects similar to the ones that were proposed for Athenry.

    Basically this Daly guy is maliciously exercising his rights as a citizen and doing a tremendous disservice to his area and Ireland as a whole - which is a significant importer of energy. Ireland needs more of these projects and fast.
    Muntzjbdragonracerhomie3bshankmagman1979Alex1N
  • Reply 6 of 48
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 4,231member
    Drain on the power grid, I guess this guy has not notice that Apple operations are 100% renewable. Yeah this guy just cost Ireland. If this guy pops his head out everytime Apple wants to do something, Apple will no longer bother.

    This was the first shot by Apple on this subject.
    Muntzbshankmagman1979Alex1N
  • Reply 7 of 48
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,040member
    maestro64 said:
    Drain on the power grid, I guess this guy has not notice that Apple operations are 100% renewable. 

    Apple was just tying into the existing energy grid weren't they? To the best of my knowledge they weren't planning any solar or wind farms to supply it. 

    EDIT: According to the local news there that Apple data centre would have been burning more electricity than the entire city of Dublin. Wow! Data centers are hungry beasts.

    But that one Apple facility would NOT have been the major drain on the stressed energy grid. Talking just the big techs Google has at least two there and doing an expansion on one of those. Microsoft has several and with one recent huge data facility had to build their own energy plant to support it. Amazon already has at least three in service with two more in planning, one of which is the one under attack by Mr Daly who is probably emboldened now with this recent successful challenge. Perhaps Ireland is getting ahead of themselves just a tad in actively promoting Ireland as a data centre hub. Reportedly the energy infrastructure is not ready to support them.

    To their credit tho the Irish government's goal is for 40% of their energy production to source from the wind within the next three years, GE being one big name in the project. That's a pretty aggressive schedule.

    EDIT2: Irish article on the energy grid strain caused in part by the data center's power needs
    https://www.independent.ie/business/microsoft-forced-to-build-dublin-power-station-to-service-huge-data-centre-36137561.html
    http://www.powerengineeringint.com/articles/2017/10/ireland-faces-data-centre-challenge-to-power-demand.html

    It looks like energy might be a legitimate concern.
    edited May 10 muthuk_vanalingamfotoformath2pminicoffeestevenozAlex1Npatchythepirate
  • Reply 8 of 48
    It's amazing how a single person can hold up progress.  He'll be shutting down the looms in Nottingham next, a la Ned Lud.

    This would have been a benefit to the Irish economy, and provide valuable high tech jobs - attracting other such roles to the area, as Apple does lead the way on this in Ireland.  I don't understand the argument about the strain on the grid, and greenhouse gases... it'll get built somewhere else, AND Apple, of all company, is literally the best at using green energy.  

    I wonder if he'll win against Amazon too?
    He didn't really "win", rather that he managed to delay things so much, Apple moved on to Plan B. The Amazon case will similarly depend on whether they can afford to wait to take advantage of Ireland's climate and nearby high speed link across the Atlantic or if they have a deadline to get things started.

    This Daly guy sounds so familiar to a few local to me in Scotland too. Not native, no family here, yet they move in and dictate to everyone about whats in the country's best interests - more often that not, environmentally focused at ANY cost. They would even protest against green/sustainable projects if it were to endanger the habitat of a sole gnat.

    JWSC
  • Reply 9 of 48
    asdasdasdasd Posts: 5,102member
    gatorguy said:
    It's amazing how a single person can hold up progress.  He'll be shutting down the looms in Nottingham next, a la Ned Lud.

    This would have been a benefit to the Irish economy, and provide valuable high tech jobs - attracting other such roles to the area, as Apple does lead the way on this in Ireland.  I don't understand the argument about the strain on the grid, and greenhouse gases... it'll get built somewhere else, AND Apple, of all company, is literally the best at using green energy.  

    I wonder if he'll win against Amazon too?
    Data centers need very few employees. That Apple one might have employed fewer than a hundred including the janitorial folks if they're staffed like the others, so they aren't significant employment drivers. I don't think there were any additional plans for nearby energy infrastructure to support it either, it was just tying into the national grid AFAIK so it wasn't driving any other energy plant construction around it. Yeah there would have been a lot of short-term jobs building the data centre itself tho. 
    150 jobs is the estimate. Not huge for Dublin but important for athenry. 

    Anyway ireland needs to speed up this process, remember at all stages and all appeals this was approved. The complainers then kept trying higher courts. 
    bshankAlex1N
  • Reply 10 of 48
    launfalllaunfall Posts: 38member
    Solar would not have been the best option in Ireland...sunny days are rare and short-lived.
    Alex1N
  • Reply 11 of 48
    larryjwlarryjw Posts: 248member
    Daly might be a pain in the ass for Apple, but he was using current environmental laws to force Apple to justify the construction. That is certainly a legitimate if not a just a local concern. 

    Was Apple proposing to build on pristine natural areas, or reclaiming some abandoned scarred mining camp? It matters. 
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 12 of 48
    asdasdasdasd Posts: 5,102member
    launfall said:
    Solar would not have been the best option in Ireland...sunny days are rare and short-lived.
    Wind is better but Ireland does have long summer days, as does Britain. Even today mid spring sunset is as late as 9:10 pm in Dublin and sunrise is 05:32. I think the latest is about 10pm and earliest 4:50 or so. Dublin is to the north of all cities in the contiguous US and most large cities in Canada. 

    Of course this means short days in winter.

    As you suggest  Ireland should do is off shore wind farms. It is never not windy in the Atlantic west of Ireland, even when the island isn't bothered by wind. 

    https://earth.nullschool.net/#current/wind/surface/level/orthographic=-21.58,49.19,1332/loc=-10.526,53.184

    edited May 10 gatorguyjbdragonbaconstangh2pAlex1N
  • Reply 13 of 48
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,040member
    asdasd said:
    launfall said:
    Solar would not have been the best option in Ireland...sunny days are rare and short-lived.
    Wind is better but Ireland does have long summer days, as does Britain. Even today mid spring sunset is as late as 9:10 pm and sunrise is 05:32. I think the latest is about 10pm and earliest 4:50 or so. Dublin is to the north of all cities in the contiguous US and most large cities in Canada. 

    Of course this means short days in winter.

    As you suggest  Ireland should do is off shore wind farms. It is never not windy in the Atlantic west of Ireland, even when the island isn't bothered by wind. 

    https://earth.nullschool.net/#current/wind/surface/level/orthographic=-21.58,49.19,1332/loc=-10.526,53.184

    That's just what they're doing. At the end of last year wind power was covering 24% of Ireland's electricity use. Wind power is the preference for new plants across much of Europe now.
    https://www.irishtimes.com/business/energy-and-resources/2017-a-record-year-for-installing-wind-energy-capacity-in-ireland-1.3390680
    edited May 10 asdasdjony0Alex1N
  • Reply 14 of 48
    spice-boyspice-boy Posts: 596member
    It's amazing how a single person can hold up progress.  He'll be shutting down the looms in Nottingham next, a la Ned Lud.

    This would have been a benefit to the Irish economy, and provide valuable high tech jobs - attracting other such roles to the area, as Apple does lead the way on this in Ireland.  I don't understand the argument about the strain on the grid, and greenhouse gases... it'll get built somewhere else, AND Apple, of all company, is literally the best at using green energy.  

    I wonder if he'll win against Amazon too?
    Mr Allan Daly sounds like my kind of guy. Governments local and national all to easily cave to corporations and their promise of "great jobs" while not addressing the negative impact a development on this scale can have on the local environment or social and cultural impact. 

    I live in Manhattan and my neighborhood is the larget of the city government and a series of hight tech companies looking for a foothold in New York City. I and my neighbors lives will radically change if this happens. Rents will soar, our over stressed public transport system will get even worse, small businesses will be forced out to be replaced with more corporate stores and restaurants and the very make up of my neighborhood will become unrecognizable. Big business brings big change and it is not all good and seldom is the local workforce tapped for these jobs which demand importing higher skilled workers from other cities, states and countries. 
    The people of Ireland and every other place has the right to stand up to Apple and the other Goliaths of the corporate world. 
    muthuk_vanalingambaconstang
  • Reply 15 of 48
    wood1208wood1208 Posts: 1,521member
    Most of us care about environment and future man kind but every country have to participate truthfully in an effort against green house gases and similar. If we reduce human foot print to half and in future not allow out of control population than you would not even need more data centers, more cars on roads, more electrical grids,list keep going. So,who ever this Allan Daly needs to fight for human population population.
    baconstangspice-boy
  • Reply 16 of 48
    MacProMacPro Posts: 17,514member
    gatorguy said:
    maestro64 said:
    Drain on the power grid, I guess this guy has not notice that Apple operations are 100% renewable. 

    Apple was just tying into the existing energy grid weren't they? To the best of my knowledge they weren't planning any solar or wind farms to supply it. 

    EDIT: According to the local news there that Apple data centre would have been burning more electricity than the entire city of Dublin. Wow! Data centers are hungry beasts.

    But that one Apple facility would have been the major drain on the stressed energy grid. Talking just the big techs Google has at least two there and doing an expansion on one of those. Microsoft has several and with one recent huge data facility had to build their own energy plant to support it. Amazon already has at least three in service with two more in planning, one of which is the one under attack by Mr Daly who is probably emboldened now with this recent successful challenge. Perhaps Ireland is getting ahead of themselves just a tad in actively promoting Ireland as a data centre hub. Reportedly the energy infrastructure is not ready to support them.

    To their credit tho the Irish government's goal is for 40% of their energy production to source from the wind within the next three years, GE being one big name in the project. That's a pretty aggressive schedule.

    EDIT2: Irish article on the energy grid strain caused in part by the data center's power needs
    https://www.independent.ie/business/microsoft-forced-to-build-dublin-power-station-to-service-huge-data-centre-36137561.html
    http://www.powerengineeringint.com/articles/2017/10/ireland-faces-data-centre-challenge-to-power-demand.html

    It looks like energy might be a legitimate concern.
    You certainly highlight all the positive aspects of the Apple proposal in this thread lol.  Reading the information on the Danish data center Apple certainly seemed have gone out of their way to do as much damage as possible and have a negative effect on the environment, shame this character wasn't active in Denmark too. What were those Danes thinking? /s 
    https://appleinsider.com/articles/17/04/21/apples-upcoming-danish-data-center-will-help-warm-area-homes
    netmagetmayjbdragon
  • Reply 17 of 48
    asdasdasdasd Posts: 5,102member
    The strain on the grid is a legitimate issue I suppose. Ireland is expanding the grid with wind but you also need a backup.

    @gatorguy I was saying they should concentrate on off shore wind, as should Britain ( particularly off Scotland). Anytime I look at the earth null map I see that the wind just off the west of Ireland and Scotland is 2-3 times the wind across the Islands themselves, or the continent. 

    Today for instance wind across Ireland and Britain is about 20Km/h and unto 50 Km/h off Scotland and Ireland. Just off I mean - a mile or two out. Obviously the capital and maintenance costs are higher but the harvest is higher and the reliability of the wind. 
    jbdragonh2pAlex1N
  • Reply 18 of 48
    irelandireland Posts: 17,386member
    Strange why Apple wanted the Center there when there are areas of Ireland zoned for this kind of thing and this area is a green haven.
    Alex1N
  • Reply 19 of 48
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,040member
    asdasd said:
    The strain on the grid is a legitimate issue I suppose. Ireland is expanding the grid with wind but you also need a backup.

    @gatorguy I was saying they should concentrate on off shore wind, as should Britain ( particularly off Scotland). Anytime I look at the earth null map I see that the wind just off the west of Ireland and Scotland is 2-3 times the wind across the Islands themselves, or the continent. 

    Today for instance wind across Ireland and Britain is about 20Km/h and unto 50 Km/h off Scotland and Ireland. Just off I mean - a mile or two out. Obviously the capital and maintenance costs are higher but the harvest is higher and the reliability of the wind. 
    I don't disagree and power companies with private investment are actively working on it. Apparently there's some special considerations that make this a relatively slow and careful process.
    https://www.offshorewind.biz/2018/02/05/ireland-esb-eyes-two-sites-for-new-500mw-offshore-wind-farms/
    https://www.irishtimes.com/business/energy-and-resources/ireland-s-first-major-offshore-wind-project-moves-step-closer-1.3243826
    asdasd
  • Reply 20 of 48
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 29,760member
    wood1208 said:
    Most of us care about environment and future man kind but every country have to participate truthfully in an effort against green house gases and similar. If we reduce human foot print to half and in future not allow out of control population than you would not even need more data centers, more cars on roads, more electrical grids,list keep going. So,who ever this Allan Daly needs to fight for human population population.
    Thanks, Thanos.  /s
    tallest skilStrangeDaysAlex1N
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