Although there is still no complete environmental approval, Tesla is allowed to start construction work at its Grünheide plant near Berlin. The Brandenburg State Office for the Environment decided this. However, approval is restricted.
According to the approval, Tesla is allowed to start work on the foundation. In addition, earthworks, structural work and the construction of private traffic areas are allowed, announced the Ministry of Agriculture, Environment and Climate Protection (MLUK) in Potsdam. However, they are exempt “Structural systems above the planned pile foundations as well as components and pipes that extend into the groundwater”.
Tesla had that on June 8, 2020 Approval of an early start of measures according to §8a of the Federal Immission Control Act requested. According to the MLUK, all authorities involved agreed to this.
Tesla is building a gigafactory in Brandenburg, which can produce up to 500,000 electric cars a year. Production is scheduled to start in a year. Initially, 3,000 new jobs will be created in the plant. Later, 8,000 people are said to work there.
Although the region is structurally weak and jobs are needed, the project is controversial. One point of criticism is the planned water abstraction: Many in the region fear that this will further lower the water table. Tesla initially spoke of a water requirement of 372 cubic meters per hour, but then announced that it would reduce the amount by about a third.
Nature conservation organizations also criticized the clearing of around 90 hectares of forest, although Tesla had agreed to reforest areas elsewhere. Two associations tried to stop the clearing with urgent applications, but failed in court in February. Most recently, the Naturschutzbund (Nabu) has called for compensatory measures for further planned clearing.
The measures that have now been approved are all carried out on the areas already cleared – no further clearing is necessary.