Gigafactory Berlin, courtesy of Tesla Inc.
Nicolas Caballero's picture

Tesla's Giga Berlin To Meet 400 Requirements As Per Environmental Permit

The environmental permit for the Tesla Gigafactory in Berlin is now official; the plant will start operating as soon as it meets the 400 requirements mentioned in the 536-page document; Tesla wants to have everything ready within two weeks.
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Although news of the environmental permit for Giga Berlin was already advanced last week by German newspaper Handelsblatt, it has now been officially confirmed by the authorities. The Minister President of Brandenburg, Dietmar Woidke, was in charge of sending this document to Tesla: it basically contains the conditions that the manufacturer must meet in order to start production. Tesla must satisfy the 400 requirements that appear in the 536-page document; the company believes it can comply in just two weeks.

Woidke announced the granting of the permit at the State Chancellery in Potsdam, Germany, along with the Brandenburg Minister for the Environment, Axel Vogel, the Minister for the Economy, Jörg Steinbach, and Ulrich Stock, who heads the State Office for the Environment (LfU). With this act, the government representatives confirmed the approval and gave Tesla the document with the necessary steps before actual production can begin at this facility.

The President of Brandenburg emphasized how important the plant is for the Brandenburg region and that its citizens will see this moment as a turning point in time: "before Tesla and after Tesla: in a few years or decades we will see how significant this step really is” he added. Brandenburg Minister of Economic Affairs Steinbach thanked Tesla representatives for their cooperation over the last two years, two months and two weeks since the first application was submitted, back in December 2019. The approval, he said, "is not an end point, but an intermediate step in further development".

Tesla Model Y, Courtesy of Tesla Inc.

The documents reveal that the approval permit allows Tesla to produce 500,000 electric vehicles per year; it also has other production processes approved, such as those related to battery cells. It also reveals that Tesla has already hired about 3,000 workers for the plant.

The delivery was made last Friday, according to Woidke, after the 27th meeting between government representatives and the Tesla work team. It is a document made up of 66 files that contains a 536-page set of conditions that summarize the actions to be carried out before starting the work. There are 400 requirements and conditions all in all that, according to Vogel "although it sounds like a lot, it is not an extraordinary document". The size of the plant is what requires a large number of conditions to be established, he says, adding that "the process could not have been carried out faster".

An example of the conditions that Tesla will have to meet before the plant can be put into actual operation is, for instance, checking the purity of the air, as explained by Mr. Stock, head of the LfU department. It will be necessary to install a series of measuring devices for this, which in turn must be checked again during an acceptance test. Tesla has set the goal of establishing all the measures included in the conditions during the next two weeks. If this deadline - which includes the undertaking of the works and the presentation of the corresponding plans - becomes a reality, there would still be enough time to comply with what is established in Tesla's calendar, which is basically to hold Giga Berlin's opening ceremony on March 22 or 23.

The approval document to be published in the official gazette of the State of Brandenburg will be available for two weeks. From that moment on, a one-month period is established during which it will still be possible to formulate objections to the approval. At the same time, the approval notice is published on the EIA on-line portal of the state of Brandenburg, where it can be checked until the end of the objection period. However, neither Tesla nor German officials seem to think that this circumstance should delay the start of production.

Tesla Model Y, Courtesy of Tesla Inc.

While everything seems clear at the state level, obstacles may arise in other administration levels: the Strausberg-Erkner water board has announced that it might have to terminate the supply contract with Tesla if it does not obtain a "Water Law" permit. The Frankfurt Administrative Court is currently examining the lawsuit filed by the environmental associations Grüne Liga and Nabu against the issuance of a water law permit by the State Office for the Environment (LfU), which is also related to the Berlin Gigafactory.

All images courtesy of Tesla Inc.

Nico Caballero is the VP of Finance of Cogency Power, specializing in solar energy. He also holds a Diploma in Electric Cars from Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, and enjoys doing research about Tesla and EV batteries. He can be reached at @NicoTorqueNews on Twitter. Nico covers Tesla and electric vehicle latest happenings at Torque News.


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