24 Sep 2020, 12:43
Benjamin Wehrmann

Critics of Tesla's Berlin gigafactory object to construction without licenses

rbb24 / Clean Energy Wire

Tesla's planned e-car factory near Berlin continues to draw criticism from local residents who take issue with the fact that work already began despite pending licenses, public broadcaster rbb24 reports. At a public hearing of objections to the project in Grünheide in the state of Brandenburg, which surrounds the German capital  and city-state of Berlin, critics of Tesla's first so-called gigafactory in Europe complained that the state's environmental agency already signalled there would be "no general obstacles to the licensing procedure," even though more than 400 submitted objections had yet not been officially refuted.

Authorities in Brandenburg have allowed Tesla to proceed with construction with provisional licenses in spite of outstanding questions regarding the factory's environmental impact, with the caveat that the US carmaker would have to dismantle its construction and reforest the area, should the licenses ultimately be denied. Objections were made with respect to the factory's projected water use, the clearing of forest and construction works to connect the factory with the road network. The hearing, which originally was scheduled for March but had to be postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, is set to last until Friday, 25 September, but could be extended into next week.

Tesla plans to complete construction of the factory next year and hopes to quickly scale up production to about 500,000 e-cars per year. The company's CEO, Elon Musk, has stated that Tesla also plans to produce batteries and battery cells at the German plant, a procedure that would significantly increase the factory's water consumption.

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