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Live Updates: Tesla Giga Berlin final environmental permit press conference

(Credit: @factorymodes/Twitter)

After two years of construction, Tesla Gigafactory Berlin has secured its final environmental approval. The approval was discussed by Brandenburg Minister-President Dietmar Woidke during a press conference today. 

A background of Tesla Giga Berlin, as well as the delays that hit the project along the way, have been discussed in our previous coverage from earlier today. Click here to access our backgrounder on Tesla’s Giga Berlin project. 

But today, it’s all about Giga Berlin’s final environmental approval. The following were the topics discussed during the press conference, as well as some notable updates and quotes during the press conference (Quotes provided by Google Translate unless otherwise stated).  

A press release has been sent out by Brandenburg about Tesla Gigafactory Berlin’s final approval. The following are some of the highlights from the document.

Potsdam/Frankfurt (Oder) – Today, Friday (March 4), the State Office for the Environment (LfU), which is responsible for immission control approval procedures, issued the approval for the Tesla factory in Grünheide (Oder-Spree district) in Brandenburg and handed it over to the project developer.

The approval notice will shortly be published in the official gazette for the state of Brandenburg, in the local daily newspapers and on the internet. The notice of approval is available for two weeks from the date of publication in the municipality of Grünheide (Mark), the town of Erkner, the Spreenhagen office and the seat of the administration of the Oder-Spree district in Beeskow as well as in the State Office for the Environment in Frankfurt (Oder) inspection off. The period of one month during which objections to the approval can be raised begins with the end of the exhibition. At the same time, the approval notice is published on the Internet on the EIA portal of the state of Brandenburg, where it can be viewed until the end of the objection period.

The project, which was approved with the 536-page decision, includes the plan for the production of up to 500,000 vehicles per year, aluminum smelting plants and an aluminum foundry, plants for surface treatment, heat generation, and storage. The facility also includes battery cell production, an operational wastewater treatment plant, a fire brigade equipment house, a high-bay warehouse, as well as laboratories and workshops.

The Tesla approval process is unusual in several ways. In a comparatively short time, the State Office for the Environment inspected and approved not just a factory, but an entire industrial area with several large-scale plants and repeated public participation.


06:55 a.m. PST – Grunheide Mayor Arne Christiani highlights that Tesla’s work is a Herculean task. He also points out that Giga Berlin will provide opportunities, particularly jobs, in the area. Commenting on how the electric vehicle facility could benefit the region, the official stated that Tesla bringing Giga Berlin to the area is similar to “winning the lottery.”

06:52 a.m. PST – Jorg Steinbach takes the stage. He speaks about how important Giga Berlin is to the region. Brandenburg, after all, was not that prolific for high-profile investments before. With Tesla’s Gigafactory Berlin, the state is now high on the list of locations that companies are looking at for industrial projects. Tesla’s presence has already signaled the development of an entire integrated supply chain.

06:50 a.m. PST – With the final approval now secured, Tesla now has to secure its operational permit for Giga Berlin’s Model Y production. About 400 conditions and requirements have been defined in the permit, which may seem like a lot, but are really not many, according to Vogel. The permit includes 23,700 pages of applications (HT Alex Voigt).

06:49 a.m. PST – Vogel reiterates that the final permit for Gigafactory Berlin is an “intermediate step.” He also praised those who were responsible for the approval of Giga Berlin, as they did not lose sight despite all the noise surrounding the project. “Those responsible for the approval have not been deterred by the media and political attention to the project. [We] have checked the approval requirements in this process,” Vogel remarked. 

06:48 a.m. PST – Alex Vogel takes the stage and discusses the meticulous process involved in the approval of Gigafactory Berlin. “It couldn’t have been done faster, but we have to say that every procedure was carried out within the framework for federal German law approval,” he said. 

06:46 a.m. PST – The Minister-President did highlight, however, that while the approval of Tesla Giga Berlin is a good day for the state of Brandenburg, it should not take away from the grave situation in Ukraine, which is currently being attacked by Russia. “I very much hope that this criminal attack by Putin on Ukraine will end as quickly as possible,” Woidke said. 

06:45 a.m. PST – Minister-President Woidke highlights that the approval process of Giga Berlin was a challenge for Germany. “You know (this) was also doubted across Germany at the time. Is it even possible in Germany to meet the requirements, is it possible within two years to get the third-largest automobile factory in Germany (approved)? That’s what we’re talking about there, after all, building it up and making it a success…. I learned a lot from this project, yes. I also learned that (while) planning and approval is possible in Germany, I also have to change a lot. That is a discussion that we will continue at the federal level,” the Minister-President said. 

06:41 a.m. PST – Almost 3,000 Tesla employees are already working daily in Gigafactory Berlin (credit to Alex Voigt for this translation)

06:40 a.m. PST – Minister-President Woidke notes that the approval of Giga Berlin was a mammoth task for Brandenburg. “I do believe that today, this March 4th, is a big step into the future for Brandenburg… I’m firmly convinced that in 20, 30, 40 years, if you look at the history of Brandenburg, there will be a time before Tesla and a time with Tesla,” Woidke said. 

06:35 a.m. PST – Minister-President Woidke confirmed that the final construction permit for Gigafactory Berlin has been issued and given to Tesla. 

06:30 a.m. PST – The press conference begins. Introductions are made. Brandenburg Minister-President Dietmar Woidke’s Tesla Team are introduced. Appreciation is extended to every member of “Task Force Tesla,” as each one was pivotal in getting the facility’s approvals passed. 

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Live Updates: Tesla Giga Berlin final environmental permit press conference
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