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Apple promises green data centres to power Europe's iTunes, Siri and more

Apple is pumping €1.7 billion into two data centres that will be powered by 100 percent renewable energy.

A green leaf adorned the Apple logo on Earth Day. The company makes much of its environmental credentials. John Moore, Getty Images

Apple has vowed to build two enormous new data centres, which it says will power Europe's access to its most popular online services.

Data centres are the lifeblood of tech companies' online services, housing all the equipment necessary to keep everything from email to app stores up and running.

The two new centres will be built in County Galway, Ireland, and Jutland in Denmark. Apple is pumping €1.7 billion (roughly £1.25 billion, or $1.93 billion) into the new facilities, which boast some interesting environmental features, according to the California-based company.

The centres will be powered by 100 percent renewable energy, Apple claims, and will have the lowest environmental impact of any of Apple's data centres. The Danish facility, for example, will channel excess heat from its running equipment into the local neighbourhood's heating system.

"We're excited to spur green industry growth in Ireland and Denmark and develop energy systems that take advantage of their strong wind resources," said Lisa Jackson, Apple's vice president of environmental initiatives.

Apple says the two centres, which will each measure 166,000 square metres (1.8 million square feet), will begin operations in 2017. Once up and running, they'll be powering Apple's online services, including Maps, iMessage, Siri, iTunes and the App Store.

Apple has been criticised in the past for using Ireland's tax laws as a way to dodge paying higher taxes in Europe. Last September the European Commission said that Apple gets an unfair advantage in the region, while the Irish government has announced plans to phase out certain tax loopholes used by tech giants like Apple, Google and Facebook by 2020.