Tesla Giga Berlin cleared of water supply concerns as state government begins infrastructure planning

Tesla forest site of Gigafactory 4 in Berlin (Credit: Emil Senkel)

Tesla takes a step closer to begin construction of Giga Berlin in Grunheide as Brandenburg authorities announce initial plans to spend 100 million euros on infrastructure development around the facility. Additionally, the Agriculture and Environment Minister Axel Vogel confirmed during a parliamentary committee on Wednesday that there’s a secure water supply for the entire region, thereby eliminating one of the biggest risks that would have delayed construction of Tesla’s first European factory.

Local residents, business owners, and environmental groups initially sounded the alarm about water, in fear that the California-based electric carmaker’s plans for a large production facility will dry up their local water supply. Tesla plans to initially produce 150,000 electric vehicles annually at Giga Berlin and will eventually ramp up to 500,000 units per year.

Responsible water association Strausberg / Erkner (WSE) addressed the community in a meeting last week, noting that they can meet the water supply needs of the Gigafactory in Grunheide but need additional funding. According to Vogel, WSE supplied about  10.8 million cubic meters of water in 2018 and the government can stretch that to the approved framework of 16 million cubic meters. Tesla’s Giga Berlin will only need about 1.77 million cubic meters of water per year.

“The evaluations will be completed this week and then the approval notice will be issued,  there is no reason to be worried that Tesla cannot be supplied with sufficient drinking water,” Vogel said.

In January, Tesla CEO and co-founder Elon Musk also chimed in on the water supply issue and clarified that Giga Berlin is designed with sustainability and the environment in mind.

 

With Water Issues Solved, Government Thinks of Infrastructure

As Tesla Giga Berlin gains momentum with the assurance of the Brandenburg government that there’s enough water supply for the factory and for the rest of the community, authorities have announced plans to spend 10 million euros this year on roads and railway connections. Another 90 million euros will be allocated next year for various infrastructure projects around the car factory and a total of one billion euros would be spent by 2030.

Minister of Transport Guido Beermann disclosed plans for the electrification of the railway siding and an extension or relocation of the Fangschleuse train station.

There are also talks about the expansion of state roads, bus line networks that will serve commuters to Grunheide, and the extension of the S-Bahn, the city’s rapid railway system, to Grunheide.

Tesla enthusiast Emil Senkel has provided a clear illustration of these plans:

With the influx of people expected when Giga Berlin goes online, the government is also planning to spend 30 million euros for new dormitories in nearby areas, 50  million euros for the renovation of dormitories, and 52 million euros for the rehabilitation of municipal bridges and bike lanes.

Environmental Protection Measures

As Tesla completes the necessary requirements to move forward with the construction of its facility in Brandenburg, the carmaker announced the steps it’s taking to ensure all measures are taken to protect the environment. Tesla will put up around 400 nesting boxes for birds breeding in the area and relocate several nests of forest ants. As planned, the carmaker will also search the forest for hibernating bats, forest lizards, and other creatures that need to be moved.

Tesla plans to start production of vehicles at Giga Berlin by July 2021. The factory is expected to employ around 8,000 to 12,000 workers to help with the production of the Model 3 sedan, the Model Y crossover.

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