The small community Grünheide has a lot to offer for stressed-out Berliners who want to escape the hustle and bustle of the city for a few hours. The area is criss-crossed by lakes, to the east extends the large nature reserve Löcknitztal. In the village itself, which is grouped around the Werlsee, you will find a clinic, a boat rental and the Pension Turtle.
Since Tuesday evening, however, Grünheide is under completely different circumstances in the light of the public - and worldwide. Because in the nearby industrial park Europe's first gigafactory is to be created. This is how Tesla founder Elon Musk calls the factories where he has the batteries and bodies of his electric cars assembled.
But why, the question arises, is it just here in Grünheide a factory to be created, which will one day employ up to 7,000 people?
Quite simply: There is enough space (the location was one day already for a BMW production in the shortlist), the A10 is just around the corner and a direct S-Bahn line to Berlin starts in the neighboring Erkner. Green heather is not quite as isolated as it seems at first glance.
And there are a number of other factual reasons that speak for the location. The environmentally sound energy supply, for example, which fits well with an e-mobile factory. Nationwide, no country produces more green electricity per inhabitant than Brandenburg. That was in the conversation with Tesla boss Musk a decisive advantage, stressed Prime Minister Dietmar Woidke (SPD) on Wednesday in Potsdam.
His new, recently forged Brandenburg Kenya coalition celebrates a brilliant debut with Musk's decision. Although he allowed the dazzling entrepreneur to be surprised when it came to surprising the public with the good news, that is only a small concession compared to the blessings that the location decision means for the new electric car factory for Brandenburg. And thus also for the country father.
It would have been nice, of course, from Woidkes point of view, one would have the coup before the election in Brandenburg under cover. Had certainly voices brought, but what is not, just is not. Instead, the SPD politician now image-happy, that during all the months of intense negotiations, nothing has leaked out, which, according to his spokesman Florian Engels was a decisive factor in the fact that finally gave Musk Grünheide the contract.
"We are 95 percent through"
But there was a whole lot more. For example, automotive expert Stefan Bratzel of the Bergisch-Gladbach University of Applied Sciences points to the large number of qualified workers available in the region. In any case, the area is no longer the economic outback, as it was for years after the turn. The Riva-Stahl Group operates two electric steel plants in nearby Hennigsdorf and Brandenburg on the Havel, Mercedes-Benz produces trucks in Ludwigsfelde and Rolls Royce Germany aircraft engines in Dahlewitz. Incidentally, train manufacturer Bombardier is also based in Hennigsdorf, and the list could be extended considerably.
That the deal still bursts, Woidke does not believe. "I came to know Musk as a very reliable person during the five to six months of negotiations," said the head of the government. "We are 95 percent through, but there will be more questions to clarify." Nevertheless, Woidke is sure that the construction will start in a few months. The investment should amount to billions.
Subsidies under EU law
Of course, this also includes the question of how big the financial support for the chronic loss-making car maker fails. Tesla had been made pledges for conventional subsidies under the EU state aid law, says Woidke to narrowly. Government spokesman Engels referred to the strict requirements from Brussels, which regulated the competition of locations in Europe.
One of the rival locations in the struggle for the Tesla factory was Berlin. Already more than a year ago, Green Economic Senator Ramona Pop had antichambrated the Californian electric billionaire. "Berlin is the German hotspot for international companies to establish their digital business units," the senator wrote to Musk. She pointed out that especially start-ups in the field of electric mobility in the capital felt comfortable and the think tanks of several automakers. Tesla would "fit in perfectly with this biotope," wrote Pop.
Pop made even concrete location offers, such as the cleantech business park in Berlin-Marzahn, combined with the note, the Lausitzring own ideal as a test track. Berlin could also help, the Senator offered in her letter, "in the identification and implementation of the right funding and support services".
Dear Grünheide, as Marzahn
But Musk did not want to go to Marzahn, supposedly the area was too small and above all not expandable. For the business park in the east of Berlin, the settlement would have been like winning the lottery. Because so far, the area is still largely broke.
Nevertheless, the capital can now hope for the design and development center that Musk wants to settle very close to its factory - that means up to 3000 new jobs.
From the point of view of Stefan Bratzel, Berlin is an ideal location, because in Silicon Valley, one knows the city's appeal to creative minds. And unlike other European cities, the financial commitment is manageable. Senator Pop wants to once again bring Marzahn into conversation - but there are also a number of other possibilities.