According to the Brandenburg state government, Tesla must revise the application for approval of the planned first Gigafactory in Europe. This also means that the documents will be made public again.
In the new application, “essential things” have been changed, said Minister of Economics Jörg Steinbach on Wednesday at the state parliament’s economic committee in Potsdam. “This will even lead to a renewed disclosure of the documents,” meaning a public display. So far, a total of 360 objections have been received against the construction project.
One of the objections concerns the expected water demand of the plant. This had caused criticism; some residents and experts even saw the public drinking water supply in the Oder-Spree district in danger. The Strausberg-Erkner water board (WSE) had also warned of water shortages. Elon Musk had even joined the discussion about the registered water demand via Twitter and called the amount listed in the documents a theoretical maximum value. On most days, the factory’s water requirements would be significantly lower.
To realise lower water consumption, technical procedures would be changed, it was said in Potsdam. This, in turn, would affect the construction of the plant, which would result in a change in the permit. And since the changes in the applications are far-reaching, the state of Brandenburg has decided to disclose them again.
According to his statements, the Minister of Economics Steinbach assumes that the new application will increase the chances for a permit. The Higher Administrative Court of Berlin-Brandenburg had already certified a “probable approval” for the previous application with high water demand in its ruling on permitted early clearing. According to Steinbach, a final permit will probably only be “within the realm of possibility from October on”.
Because of the new date for the approval (after all, only about three quarters of a year before the planned start of production in summer 2021), Sebastian Walter, the parliamentary group leader of Brandenburg and economic policy spokesman of the Left Party, told he local broadcaster RBB: “I now have justified doubts about the schedule.
Even if, according to RBB, construction work in Grünheide is currently suspended (the pillar foundations for the foundation are not included in the original plans), Tesla will hardly be able to wait until the final approval in October. The company will probably try to continue working with provisional permits. If the construction is not approved, according to Steinbach, Tesla will have to dismantle any steps taken at its own risk: “Then they’re out of luck.”
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