Tesla Receives Approval of 'Gigafactory Berlin', Its Only Production Facility in Europe

Tesla has received approval for the expansion of its Gigafactory Berlin, which is its only production facility in Europe. The approval came after a meeting between community members and local officials held in the Hangelsberg district of Grünheid, Germany. Despite some opposition and ongoing protests concerning environmental concerns and the use of local resources, the expansion plans were approved with a majority vote by the local council. The expansion aims to increase the factory's production and logistical capacity, including the construction of a train station. This development is part of Tesla's strategy to enhance its manufacturing capabilities in Europe.

There were a number of environmental concerns regarding Tesla's Gigafactory Berlin. The factory's demand for 1.4 million cubic meters of water per year, which is equivalent to the consumption of a town of 30,000 people. This has raised concerns about the potential strain on the area's water supplies, especially since about two-thirds of the site is located on a water reserve.

Tesla Receives Approval of 'Gigafactory Berlin', Its Only Production Facility in Europe
Demonstrators walk past the Tesla factory in Gruenheide, Germany, May 11, 2024, at the end of their protest. A local council in Germany on Friday May 17, 2024, approved a plan by electric carmaker Tesla to expand the grounds of its first plant in Europe, which has drawn persistent protests this year. ( Image source|Patrick Pleul/dpa via AP, File)

There have been Deforestation and Wildlife concerns. Local authorities made objections to the clearing of trees from the site, which involved relocating protected anthills, and lawsuits over the presence of snakes and lizards.

Moreover, there are allegations of "suspected water pollution and a possible environmental crime" related to the factory. Building on vast areas of open land might disrupt groundwater formation, affecting the regional water association.

These concerns have led to a series of complaints and legal actions by environmental groups, as well as protests and attempts to disrupt the factory's operations. Despite these challenges, the factory has continued to move forward with its expansion plans.

Steps Tesla is taking to address Environmental concerns

Tesla has taken several measures to address the environmental concerns related to its Gigafactory Berlin:
  • Tesla plans to install around 400 nesting boxes for birds breeding in the area.
  • The company will search the forest for hibernating bats, forest lizards, and other creatures that need to be moved to safer locations.
  • Tesla is implementing water-saving and wastewater-reducing measures to mitigate the impact on the local water supply.
  • There are specific requirements for groundwater protection included in the factory's environmental approval.
  • Measures for species protection have been incorporated to ensure the safety of local wildlife.
  • Tesla has set limit values for air pollutants and regulations on their measurement to minimize air pollution.
These steps are part of more than 400 ancillary provisions included in the final environmental approval to address the various concerns raised by environmentalists and local residents. Tesla's efforts reflect a commitment to balancing its expansion with environmental stewardship.

Energy integration at the Gigafactory

Tesla has contracted with E.ON, Germany's largest electric utility company, to design energy solutions for the factory. This collaboration is focused on utilizing sustainable energy products and aligns with Tesla's mission to build sustainable energy vehicles using sustainable energy.

The Gigafactory is designed to be a net-zero energy factory upon completion, meaning it will be entirely powered by renewable energy sources.

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