Tesla’s Gigafactory Berlin received conditional approval from the state government of Brandenburg on Friday to operate, ending a months-long delay since it was originally scheduled to open last summer.
However, this does not mean that the factory can start construction immediately. According to the 536-page conditional building permit issued by the local government, Tesla must meet water use and air pollution control if it wants to start construction, and the permit is also subject to public dissent. Only when these conditions are met can a real operating license be obtained, and the plant’s target of producing 500,000 vehicles per year is achieved.
Brandenburg state environment minister Axel Vogel said Tesla plans to provide information about its conditions within the next two weeks, and that those who disagree with the conditional permit can submit comments next month.
While all seemed to be going well, the work faced challenges in terms of water contracts. Local environmentalists will argue at a local administrative tribunal hearing on Friday, with the ring group alleging that the Brandenburg state environment ministry did not conduct adequate inspections before granting a permit to the Wasserverband Strausberg-Erkner (WSE) utility.
If the ring group wins, WSE will have to cancel the contract with Tesla and restart negotiations with local governments on the location of the factory’s water intake to ensure the source of water to operate the Tesla factory, but this will be a long process. And there is no guarantee that there will be a solution.
The gigafactory is the key to Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s conquest of the European market, where Volkswagen now has 25 percent of the electric car market, compared with 13 percent for Tesla.
Shares of Tesla (TSLA-US) rose slightly by 0.56% at the time of writing, at $844 per share.