It's less than two months into 2015, but in that short time Apple Inc. has pushed full steam ahead with several construction projects. In China, it’s retail stores. In the U.S., it’s a solar farm. And now in Europe, the company is building data centers to power its services in the region.
On Monday, Apple announced a 1.7 billion euro ($1.9 billion) plan to build two data centers in Europe. Expected to come online in 2017, the facilities in Ireland and Denmark will span 166,000 square meters and will be used to power a range of Apple’s services in Europe, including Maps, Siri and the iTunes Store.
“This significant new investment represents Apple’s biggest project in Europe to date,” CEO Tim Cook said in a press release. “We’re thrilled to be expanding our operations, creating hundreds of local jobs and introducing some of our most advanced green building designs yet.”
Apple’s planned data centers follow a similar move by Amazon to open up its own facilities within the European Union, in part due to stricter data protection policies there and concerns about U.S. spying. In the EU, companies that want to use customer data outside the union are required to follow a series of regulations governing how that data is handled. And proposed legislation could introduce fines up to 100 million euros ($113 million) or 5 percent of annual revenue for companies that violate those rules.
The data centers, each expected to bring hundreds of local jobs, will be powered entirely by renewable energy, according to Apple.
In recent years, Apple has placed a renewed interest in the EU as it looks to expand its presence abroad. And among the services expected to expand into the region in the coming years is Apple Pay, its mobile payment system introduced in the U.S. last year.