Apple to open another data center in Oregon

Apple has purchased a 160 acre sprawl for $5.6 million

Apple has bought a vast sprawl of land in Prineville, Oregon, where it will open a data center, the company said on Wednesday.

The data center will be built on a 160-acre piece of land that Apple bought for US$5.6 million. The purchase was first reported by news channel KTVZ earlier this week.

Apple did not provide further details on what it plans to do with the data center, but the company already offers online services such as iCloud through existing data centers. The company last year opened a data center in Maiden, North Carolina, as an iCloud backbone and invested over $500 million in the facility.

Prineville, which is located in central Oregon, has a temperate climate that makes it a good place for data centers, said Dan Olds, principal analyst at Gabriel Consulting Group, which is in Beaverton, Oregon.

The temperature is usually cool at night, providing a natural air conditioner that helps cut power and cooling costs, he said.

The land is cheap and so is the power, with multiple dams on the Columbia river generating plenty of hydropower, Olds said.

Facebook opened its first custom data center in Prineville, and the data center employs energy-efficient cooling designs, like an evaporative cooling system to chill incoming air.

A recent environmental progress report highlighted some environmentally friendly cooling techniques employed by Apple in its data centers. For the data center in Maiden, Apple is building a solar array and a fuel-cell installation that will be powered by biogas. The data center takes advantage of cool air, and uses a water storage system to improve chiller efficiency.

Some other top companies, including Google and Amazon have data centers in Oregon.

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