Tesla Gigafactory Berlin is quietly moving towards its start of operations. While the facility’s development has been largely overshadowed by the progress of projects such as Gigafactory Texas, the last official step for Giga Berlin’s final approval has begun through a virtual hearing by mail. The process may take several weeks, but after this stage, the Germany-based EV factory may finally receive the green light to start Model Y production.
Tesla is facing over 800 objections against Gigafactory Berlin’s construction. According to the Brandenburg Ministry of the Environment, the objections of residents and environmental associations, as well as the statements of authorities and Tesla itself, would be listed on an online platform for three weeks. Tesla, for its part, has started defending Giga Berlin, responding to some of its critics’ biggest concerns about the facility.
As noted in a Berlin.de report, Tesla noted that it considers the objections of Giga Berlin’s critics to be largely unfounded. To highlight this, Tesla responded to concerns about Giga Berlin’s planned water consumption, the risk of employee accidents on the site, and the fact that it is constructing its EV plant without a final permit.
Tesla assured that Gigafactory Berlin would not be detrimental to the drinking water supply of the area. The company explained that contracts have been concluded with a water supplier that “guarantees the supply of sufficient drinking water.” Tesla also highlighted that the Oder-Spree district sees no water scarcity. “In the region, there is basically the possibility of tapping further water resources in view of further demographic or commercial development in the municipality,” Tesla noted.
As for concerns about employee incidents, Tesla wrote that the company would meet the requirements for a viable incident concept that is within the framework of the area’s legal requirements. The company also noted that the objectives of an expert in connection with dangerous substances and safety distances are being taken into account.
Finally, Tesla defended its decision to build the first phase of Gigafactory Berlin using only preliminary permits. Tesla has made serious progress on its Germany-based factory despite the project’s lack of final permits, which is impressive in its own right. Apart from this, Tesla also noted that the use of early approvals was not objected to by the Berlin-Brandenburg Higher Administrative Court.
The decision to discuss Giga Berlin’s opposition in an online setting has met some pushback from Tesla’s critics in the area, with skeptics stating that it gives the impression that the State Office for the Environment (LfU) was avoiding a face-to-face confrontation. That being said, critics and Tesla have until October 14, 2021, to fully present their arguments and responses.
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