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Building the cloud: Apple begins work on its $68 million Oregon data center

Apple cloudApple has started preparing for the construction of what will be its fourth data center, this one located in Prineville, Oregon. Such centers don’t come cheap, with the Cupertino company reportedly shelling out for $68 million for the first of two 338,000 square-foot buildings on the site. To put that in context, each will be more than twice the size of a typical Costco store, the Oregonian reported this week. It’s not known how long the construction will take.

The Prineville data center will help cope with the increasing number of users turning to Apple’s iCloud service for storing their music, photos, documents, calendars, contacts, and so on. Around 150 million iOS and Mac users are currently making use of the service, with many more expected to join over the coming months and years.

On its website, Apple confirms that construction of the new facility “is just getting under way,” pointing out that it’ll be an “environmentally responsible” project. With environmental groups such as Greenpeace keeping a close eye on how such facilities are powered, Apple is keen to communicate the message that the Oregon facility will not have a harmful impact on the local area. “At Prineville we have access to enough local renewable energy sources to completely meet the needs of the facility,” the tech titan reports on its website. “To achieve that goal, we’re working with two local utilities as well as a number of renewable energy generation providers to purchase wind, hydro, and geothermal power — all from local sources.”

Apple’s newest data center is reportedly “across the highway” from one owned by social networking giant Facebook. Other parts of Oregon are also home to similar facilities belonging to the likes of Google, Adobe, and Amazon. The state’s competitively priced land, reasonable power prices, and decent tax breaks are key factors in attracting the tech industry’s big hitters.