Apple plans on opening a data center in the Nevada town of Sparks, a little bit east of Reno, according to a June 26 story in the Reno Gazette-Journal (and subsequently picked up by tech publications such as Wired). In keeping with Apple’s longtime habit of extreme secrecy, the deal itself was kept under wraps for months, until Nevada officials posted documents online detailing the plans.
In exchange for investing $1 billion in northern Nevada over the next decade, Apple will receive significant tax abatements from the city, county and state; local officials claimed those abatements were necessary to attract the company to the region. According to an estimate released by Washoe County and reprinted in the Reno-Gazette-Journal, the data center will eventually create up to 41 full-time jobs, paired with around 200 contract employees and 88 “indirect” workers. In addition, Apple is reportedly planning a business and purchasing center in downtown Reno.
In the comments below the article itself, locals seemed divided over the project’s impact. Some cited the presence of any major corporation as good for a region hit by the recession, particularly in light of softening gambling revenues; others were more ambivalent about Apple’s real impact on the local job market and its tax abatements. “So this creates 41 long-term jobs?” one wrote. “That’s a drop in the bucket.”
If and when Apple does build a data center in Nevada, it will likely follow the model of other Apple data centers and come loaded with all sorts of energy-efficient technology. Apple’s huge data center in Maiden, North Carolina draws its power—totaling some 20 megawatts at full capacity—from renewable sources, including onsite ones. In addition, it relies on energy-efficient design elements, including a white roof and real-time energy monitoring and analytics. Apple has claimed it purchases 100 percent renewable energy for its other facilities around the world.
Apple’s cloud-based initiatives, including iCloud, have increased the company’s need for data centers capable of handling massive amounts of data. Its burgeoning App Store and media-content hub also contribute to that load. You could call it the price of market success—and for the area around Reno, that could translate into jobs and revenue.