Tesla Gigafactory Berlin gets approval for one of its critics’ biggest pain points

Tesla’s Gigafactory Berlin facility has received majority approval from the Strausberg-Erkner Water Association (WSE), the organization responsible for the water supply of the upcoming electric vehicle manufacturing plant. The approval effectively allows Giga Berlin to take a notable step forward, considering that its water supply was among the biggest pain points brought forward by the project’s skeptics. 

According to a press release from the WSE, the majority of Tesla’s contract was approved during a closed-door meeting on September 22. The approval was made possible due to Tesla’s willingness to reduce its planned water consumption, which was related by the company in its updated permit application. 

“With the decision that has now been made, the supply and disposal of the Tesla factory in the first expansion stage with the quantities applied for from the approval process and the currently available resources of the WSE is ensured,” the Strausberg-Erkner Water Association noted. 

It had not been easy for Tesla to acquire the approval of the WSE. Back in July, the Strausberg-Erkner Water Association effectively thwarted Tesla’s water supply plans over concerns about the facility’s planned consumption. According to reports from rbb, the state’s news portal, the WSE is currently not allowed to pump more than 15 million cubic meters of water out of the ground per year. 

This amount was enough to supply the area’s current population and Giga Berlin, but concerns emerged that 15 million cubic meters per year of water will not be enough in the future, especially if more companies settle in the area in the wake of Tesla or if the EV maker expands its planned facility. The WSE estimated that its annual quota of 15 million cubic meters of water will only last until 2022. 

Apart from this, Tesla had also not signed a draft contract for Giga Berlin’s water supply, which listed a maximum consumption of 1.5 million cubic meters of water per year. In a statement, a WSE spokeswoman remarked that this may be due to the company’s plans to expand Gigafactory Berlin to a significant degree in the future.

With its water consumption approval secured, the WSE is poised to supply Gigafactory Berlin with 1.45 million cubic meters of water per year. Apart from this, Tesla will also be providing 0.95 million cubic meters of wastewater annually. In a statement to local media, Andre Bähler, the head of the association, stated that Tesla would have to create the necessary connections and comply with pollutant limits in the water. 

Hearings are now underway for state officials to hear the oppositions that were brought forward against the construction of Giga Berlin. The hearings started on Wednesday, and they proved to be quite eventful, with critics taking issue with officials’ past statements and the fact that Tesla is already building parts of its factory despite only securing preliminary permits. The company’s opposition brought forward several complaints about Giga Berlin, one of the most notable being the facility’s water consumption. 

The WSE’s recent press release on Giga Berlin’s water supply could be accessed below.