The cleared forest area for Tesla’s planned Giga-Berlin factory in Grünheide, Germany, has now been almost completely levelled. According to a local news outlet, Brandenburg’s State Environmental Agency now wants to allow the foundations to be built in advance, despite 373 objections to the project.
According to the local newspaper B.Z. the state agency has justified the approval with a positive prognosis forecast by the State’s Higher Administrative Court.
As with speedy clearing and levelling, in this latest application to the Brandenburg Ministry of the Environment Tesla refers to Section 8a of the Federal Emission Control Act that permits premature measures subject to conditions. The Californian car manufacturer continues to work its own risk: if the final permit is not granted as expected, Tesla will have to dismantle everything at its own expense.
Meanwhile, the overall approval may still be a long time coming. As reported by the German Teslamag, a public discussion date was originally scheduled for mid-March has been cancelled due to the ongoing Corona crisis. Just from this point of view, it seems that even with the ongoing and very rapid work on the factory, the Covid-19 pandemic may still have some effect on the schedule for the construction of the plant, despite Tesla’s expectations to the contrary.
From video footage of the construction site, it is fairly clear that restrictions due to the global pandemic are not such a problem with this phase of the work, as one commenter on Teslarati noted: “Glad to see social distancing properly done at the construction site, each excavator has its own acre.”
The planned ground-breaking ceremony should remain possible around mid-April. One hitch may still be that neither Tesla CEO Elon Musk nor German politicians are likely to be allowed to travel due to worldwide travel bans resulting from the pandemic.