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Tesla’s German plant gets approval to start production within weeks

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BERLIN — Tesla has received a conditional license to begin production at its electric vehicle factory and adjacent battery plant in Gruenheide, Germany, ending months of delay for the landmark site that was initially supposed to open last summer.

The factory is set to produce over 500,000 battery-electric vehicles a year, while the battery plant will generate over 50 gigawatt hours (GWh) per year — outstripping European competitors on both fronts.

Authorities in the state of Brandenburg announced the decision Friday at a news conference in Potsdam.

“This permitting process was a mammoth task for us,” Brandenburg State Premier Dietmar Woidke told reporters. “This is a new chapter in our industrial development.”

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The decision includes numerous conditions Tesla must fulfil regarding the use of water and air pollution control, two areas of major concern for local environmental groups who fear that the plant will have a negative impact.

Tesla still needs to secure an operating license to be able to start production, a process that is expected to take roughly two weeks.

The automaker has to meet requirements listed in the permit, including setting up emissions-monitoring equipment and putting in place measures to protect groundwater reserves and prevent accidents.

Local police are preparing for an opening party at the facility attended by Musk on March 22 or March 23, the Tagesspiegel newspaper reported this week.

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Tesla has been constructing the plant, which is close to Berlin, under pre-approval permits.

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