08 Apr 2021, 12:37
Julian Wettengel

Tesla calls for speedy permits for climate-friendly projects, as Berlin gigafactory awaits approval

Tagesspiegel / The Driven

U.S. e-car company Tesla has criticised that slow approval processes for German industry and infrastructure projects stand in the way of urgent climate action efforts, as the carmaker continues to wait for the final approval for its gigafactory near the country’s capital Berlin, reports Tagesspiegel. “Tesla Brandenburg has experienced first-hand that obstacles in German approval law slow down the necessary industrial transformation and thus the transport and energy transition,” wrote the Tesla subsidiary in a statement released as part of a legal case at the regional higher administrative court. The company called it “particularly irritating” that the gigafactory project – already far advanced in construction in Grünheide near Berlin – has not yet received final approval, writes Tagesspiegel. The “most glaring problem” was that current procedures and laws treat projects that combat climate change and those that accelerate it the same. Thus, the current permit framework “discourages necessary investments in clean energy projects and infrastructure and makes it virtually impossible for Germany to achieve its climate targets”, wrote Tesla.

Germany's federal transport minister Andreas Scheuer responded to the criticsm on twitter, saying: "True. In order to achieve our climate targets, we need to simplify approval procedures, de-bureaucratise processes and promote innovation." He said his ministry had so far initiated four laws to speed up procedures.

The carmaker used the court proceedings, originally brought forward by NGO Environmental Action Germany (DUH),  to criticise the government’s climate action – and submitted an 'amicus curiae' brief – an input filed by someone who is not party to the case but can provide information.

Few recent business headlines have sparked as much talk in Germany as the arrival of Tesla's "gigafactory" near Berlin. Starting this summer, it is set to churn out hundreds of thousands of electric cars in the birth country of the combustion engine. The plant will shake up the car industry in Germany and Europe, and will accelerate regional development as well as the shift to electric mobility. Construction is advancing rapidly even though the project is yet to receive final clearance from the authorities. Not everyone is a fan, with some locals arguing that the plant will harm the environment and water levels.

The Driven reported that Tesla sales have jumped by more than 80 percent in Germany in the first quarter of 2021, compared to the same period in 2020, according to new figures released by the Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA).

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