Apple could return as much as $200bn to investors over 3 years
Two new Apple data centres in Ireland and Denmark will provide services like Siri, Maps, iTunes and the App Store to European usersReuters

Apple is to invest €1.7bn (£1.25bn, $1.92bn) in two new European data centres in Ireland and Denmark, which will run on 100% renewable energy.

The state-of-the-art facilities will be located in Athenry, County Galway, Ireland, and Viborg, Denmark. Both will be used to power Apple's online services - including the iTunes and App stores, iMessage, Maps and Siri - for European customers.

Each data centre will measure 166,000 square feet and they are expected to open in 2017. Both will run entirely from renewable energy and they will have the lowest environmental impact of any Apple data centres.

The Irish data centre will be built on land previously used for growing and harvesting non-native trees, and restore native trees to the Derrydonnell Forest. There will also be an outdoor education space for local schools, plus a walking trail for the community.

"We are grateful for Apple's continued success in Europe and proud that our investment supports communities across the continent," said Tim Cook, Apple's CEO.

"This significant new investment represents Apple's biggest project in Europe to date. We're thrilled to be expanding our operations, creating hundreds of local jobs and introducing some of our most advanced green building designs yet."

In Viborg, Apple will eliminate the need for additional generators by building the data centre next to one of Denmark's largest electrical substations. Excess heat produced inside the centre will be pumped into the district heating system to help warm homes in the local community.

Apple now directly employs 18,300 people across 19 European countries and has created an extra 2,000 jobs in the last 12 months. In 2014, the iPhone maker spent nearly €8bn with European companies and suppliers.