updated 04:06 pm EDT, Thu August 16, 2012
Facility should include over 500,000 square feet of 'data halls'
Apple has submitted plans for a new datacenter to the city of Prineville, Oregon, says the Associated Press. The complex will include two buildings with over 500,000 square feet of "data halls;" combined with offices, parking lots and loading docks, the facility should span 107 acres across a 160-acre property. The buildings are notably separate from 10,000-square-foot datacenter Apple is already developing on the Prineville land, which it bought in February.
Apple has not told the city when the new complex might start construction, or how long the effort might take. An Apple spokeswoman, Kristin Huguet, has only reiterated past statements claiming Apple is "hiring dozens of people and bringing hundreds of construction jobs to the area."
Like other companies operating in the Prineville area, such as Facebook, Apple is believed to be taking advantage of low electricity costs. Apple has however vowed to move toward renewable energy, addressing concerns from groups like Greenpeace. Datacenters can consume massive amounts of power; ones that operate on the grid can indirectly generate a lot of pollution if a region is dependent on coal power. Greenpeace concentrated a recent publicity campaign around Apple's datacenter in Maiden, North Carolina, which will be dependent on grid energy until the company's solar and fuel cell farms are completed.
What the new Oregon center will handle is unclear, but like the North Carolina location it will probably be dedicated to serving iCloud and iTunes traffic. As part of its plans, Apple will help increase the capacity of Prineville's water system. The city recently discovered an underground stream, and engineers have drilled test wells, which will soon be converted into production wells in cooperation with Apple. In exchange the city has promised to reimburse Apple over time. Current Prineville wells are said to be suffering from low flow.