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Apple scraps plan for $1 billion data center in Ireland

Plagued by planning delays, the iPhone maker closes the book on a new Irish data center.

Katie Collins Senior European Correspondent
Katie a UK-based news reporter and features writer. Officially, she is CNET's European correspondent, covering tech policy and Big Tech in the EU and UK. Unofficially, she serves as CNET's Taylor Swift correspondent. You can also find her writing about tech for good, ethics and human rights, the climate crisis, robots, travel and digital culture. She was once described a "living synth" by London's Evening Standard for having a microchip injected into her hand.
Katie Collins
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Apple is giving up on plans to build a data center in Ireland after waiting three years for final approval that never came, according to Reuters.

The center, which was expected to cost 850 million euros ($1 billion), was announced in 2015 and was supposed to be built in the town of Athenry on Ireland's west coast.  Apple  chose the location because of its proximity to renewable energy sources, something the company takes very seriously. In April, Apple announced that 100 percent of its facilities run on clean energy.

Planning appeals by two people caused the delays, although Ireland's High Court ruled in October that the data center could go ahead. The individuals then took their case to the country's Supreme Court, but Apple decided to call time on the project ahead of the hearing, which was set for Thursday.

"Despite our best efforts, delays in the approval process have forced us to make other plans and we will not be able to move forward with the data center," Apple said in a statement to Reuters.

Apple is no stranger to legal issues in Ireland, which serves as a European base for many major tech companies, including Facebook and Google. In 2016 the European Union ordered the iPhone maker to pay almost $15 billion in back taxes to the country. Apple later reportedly moved its cash to the small island of Jersey -- a well-known tax haven -- off the south coast of England to avoid further Irish taxation.

Ireland still plays host to the company's European headquarters in County Cork. Apple plans to expand that site, which employees 6,000 people.

Apple didn't respond to request for comment.