Apple’s $2.5 billion renewable spend

3 March 2015

Sustainability leader Apple has announced its plan to dish out $2.5 billion NZD to build two renewable-powered data centres in Europe.

The facilities in Athenry, Ireland and Viborg, Denmark, which represent Apple’s largest project in Europe, will open for business in 2017. They will supply Apple’s online services including iMessage, the iTunes Store and Siri for European customers. 

Apple is no stranger to sustainability. All of Apple’s data centres around the globe are 100 per cent powered by renewable energies. The Denmark site was also carefully chosen for its proximity to one of Denmark’s largest electricity substations, to avoid the need for additional generators.

In a statement, Apple CEO Tim Cook said the facilities would showcase some of the “most advanced green building designs yet”, and that they will have the lowest environmental impact of any Apple data centre to date.

The newly announced project will also include community programmes, including funding additional, local renewable energy projects to provide future power. In Athenry, Apple will establish an outdoor educational space for schools and a community walking trail, as well as growing native trees to replant Derrydonnell Forest. In Denmark, the design of the building will see the excess heat from Apple’s appliances being funnelled into a heating system used to warm houses in the neighbouring community. It is also expected that the centres will create hundreds of new jobs.

The announcement comes just weeks after Apple announced a $1.1 billion NZD investment into Californian solar power to power facilities in Silicon Valley, Newark and its Californian offices.

“We believe that innovation is about leaving the world better than we found it, and that the time for tackling climate change is now,” said Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president of Environmental Initiatives. “We’re excited to spur green industry growth in Ireland and Denmark and develop energy systems that take advantage of their strong wind resources. Our commitment to environmental responsibility is good for the planet, good for our business and good for the European economy.”

Renewables is one of the Sustainable Business Network’s four transformation areas – areas we believe are critical for the future of NZ business. We believe shifting New Zealand’s energy to fully renewable sources will require clever design, new technologies and greater collaboration between businesses. Find out more about our Renewables transformation area.