Apple has announced that they will be building a new fully sustainable data center in Iowa. The tech giant joins similar companies like Google, Facebook, and Microsoft, to build large facilities in America’s heartland. Expectations are for the new data center to not only improve the user experience in Apple products, but to boost the economy around Waukee where the data center is located.
Around $1.4 billion will be spent by Apple to develop the new data center. The massive project will add over 550 construction jobs over the next three years until its scheduled completion in 2020. Iowa has given $210 million in incentives to Apple, and the company will be returning $100 million to a Public Improvement Fund to improve Waukee’s parks, libraries, and recreational areas. Currently, a new Youth Sports Campus is in the works.
“Our new data center in Iowa will help serve millions of people across North America who use Siri, iMessage, Apple Music and other Apple services — all powered by renewable energy,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, in the press release. “Apple is responsible for 2 million jobs in all 50 states and we’re proud today’s investment will add to the more than 10,000 jobs we already support across Iowa, providing even more economic opportunity for the community.”
From the beginning, the data center will be running on 100 percent renewable energy. It’s unknown what exact resources will be used, but it will likely be a mixture with most of it coming from wind power. 40 percent of Iowa’s total energy generated came from renewable energy last year, and 36.6 percent of that was from wind alone. It’s the second-highest state in terms of wind capacity with approximately seven gigawatts.
West Des Moines has seen two Microsoft data centers crop up while Facebook broke ground on their fourth data center in Altoona last May. Google has made improvements to their facility in Council Bluffs and has ultimately spent $2.5 billion in development. Including Apple’s new data center, over $7 billion has been invested in these data centers.
In order for these tech giants to keep up with consumer demand on their services, more data centers need to be built. These services can range from storing information on the cloud, keeping Facebook news feeds up to date, managing apps on iOS and Android devices, and running multiplayer games on Xbox consoles. Another benefit to building in Iowa is the location, where there’s now easy access to fiber optics and small chances of natural disasters.
State incentives and the connection to renewable energy are ultimately what makes Iowa a consistent candidate to receive these data centers, and that trend will continue. Having more benefits like the Public Improvement Fund would make it better for the state as well. Construction for Apple’s data center is slated to start early next year and it will span over 400,000 square feet among two buildings. When the complex is finished, the company will provide 50 full-time jobs.