Posted by Sandra Coffe, The Galway Independent in News.

Technology giant Apple will deliver a workplace travel plan as part of its development of €850 million data centre at Athenry.

An architect’s rendering of Apple’s proposed data centre in Athenry.

An architect’s rendering of Apple’s proposed data centre in Athenry.

Apple have delivered a detailed response to county planners addressing concerns in relation to the building of the 24,505m² single-storey data centre building, which will provide 300 jobs.

Assessing Apple’s planning applications, Galway County Council had submitted a further request for information to the US tech firm outlining concerns and observations regarding alternative sites, renewable energy, power supply, generators and travel.

In its detailed response, Apple stated that it had looked at 20 sites around Ireland and numerous sites abroad before settling on the site at Derrydonnell, Athenry.

Renewable energy

Apple intends for the data centre to be entirely powered by renewable energy. When asked how this would be possible, Apple said its strategy is to purchase renewable powers, which will be transmitted to the data centre via the national grid, as it may not be possible to meet the plant’s full demand for power at times of very low wind.

Apple also stated that it will look at supporting new and developing technologies in energy generation and that its renewable energy proposal fits well with with Ireland’s commitment to the provision of 40% of power from renewables by 2020.

The proposed power supply for the development will be connected to the existing 220KV transmission lines located to the east of the site. Local users are connected to distribution lines of lower voltage and so are not directly connected to these 220KV lines, according to Apple.

Noise concerns

The multinational also addressed noise concerns raised by planners, stating that construction noise from the site will comply with the strict regulations already in place.

In relation to concerns about the noise from the 18 generators set to be located on site, Apple has proposed the use of environmentally friendly Tier 4 generators, which will have a sound pressure level installed to minimise noise. The location of the 18 generators relative to the boundary of the site is also set to be taken into account.

Traffic management

When it comes to the influx of traffic to the Derrydonnell site, Apple stated that they already employ a full-time Mobility Manager and their workplace travel plan will target a shift from the dependency of single occupancy car based trips.

It plans to develop a Company Policy on Sustainable Travel Methods, with Tax Saver Incentive bus tickets and Tax Saver Discounted Cycle Purchase schemes available to workers. Preferential parking will also be given to car sharers, with an Emergency Ride Home System considered for those who may need to go home as a matter of urgency. In order to implement their Mobility Management Plan Apple will also undertake travel to work surveys on a regular basis.

Decision due

A decision is now due from Galway County Council on the development by 20th of September. Apple plans to have the date centre open by 2017.