Apple is investing €1.7bn (£1.2bn) to build and operate two data centres in Europe to power services including its iTunes and App store.

The new centres will be required because of the data-hungry nature of Apple’s services. Since the App Store was introduced in 2008, the popularity of iOS apps has helped developers across Europe earn over €6.6bn (£4.8bn) through the sale of apps and in-app purchases.

Apple chief executive Tim Cook said the company is grateful for its “continued success in Europe and proud that our investment supports communities across the continent”.

He added: “This significant new investment represents Apple’s biggest project in Europe to date”.

The investment comes despite Apple’s troubled relationship with Europe over its tax affairs. The EU is investigating whether Apple’s corporation tax deal with the Irish government amounts to state aid.

The centres will run on 100% renewable energy.

Apple vice-president of environmental initiatives Lisa Jackson said: “We believe that innovation is about leaving the world better than we found it, and that the time for tackling climate change is now.

“Our commitment to environmental responsibility is good for the planet, good for our business and good for the European economy.”

The two centres will be located in County Galway, Ireland and Jutland, Denmark. They will begin operations in 2017.