Apple to build new US data centre for $1.3 billion in Iowa

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Apple Inc., the technology company with iPhone smartphone as its flagship product, has announced its plan to build a new data centre in Iowa, a midwestern US state.

Headquartered in Cupertino, California, the company on Thursday said the data centre would be 400,000 square feet or more than 37,160 square metres in Waukee, a city with a population of nearly 14,000, Xinhua news agency reported.

The Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) said Apple planned to purchase 2,000 acres or 8.09 square km of land in Waukee. It said its board had approved tax incentives for Apple.

At a ceremony in Des Moines, the state capital of Iowa, Governor Kim Reynolds and Waukee Mayor Bill Peard joined Tim Cook, Apple’s chief executive officer (CEO), to announce the project expected to cost more than $1.3 billion.

“Our new data centre in Iowa will help serve millions of people across North America who use Siri, iMessage, Apple Music and other Apple services,” said Cook, who also committed his company to contributing up to $100 million to a Public Improvement Fund dedicated to community development and infrastructure around Waukee.

To be established and managed by the City of Waukee, the fund is expected to support projects like parks, libraries and recreational spaces.

Cook said that like all Apple data centres, the new facility would run entirely on renewable energy from day one.

Apple claimed to have reached the goal of operations with 100 per cent renewable energy in the US and 23 other countries.

Apple’s data centre project in Waukee, about 32 km west of Des Moines, is the result of 20 months of negotiations with state and regional officials.

The IEDA boasts that Iowa is well-positioned to attract data centre investments because of its geographic location, which is safe from hurricanes, earthquakes and rolling blackouts, coupled with affordable electric rates and high percentage of electricity generated by wind.

The IEDA, which reportedly would provide nearly $20 million of tax credit in addition to more than $188 million of property tax abatement from the city of Waukee over the next 20 years, said the project would create at least 50 jobs at a qualifying wage of $29.12 dollars per hour.

However, other than saying it will create over 550 construction and operations jobs in the Des Moines area, Apple did not specify how many of the job positions will be long-term ones.

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