May 23, 2024

Calls grew on Saturday for greater security for Germany’s energy grids after an arson attack on the power supply to the giant Tesla factory near Berlin.

“The incident emphasizes the need for resilient energy supply structures,” said a spokeswoman for the Federal Network Agency, responsible for regulating energy and telecommunications infrastructure.

The government is now working on the security requirements for critical infrastructure, including how to protect it against physical threats.

“The aim is to further raise the level of security.”

Specific requirements should be tailored to actual faced by operators, the spokeswoman told dpa.

According to the Interior Ministry, the cabinet is to deal with what is known as the Kritis umbrella law in the first half of the year, to better protect critical infrastructure against threats.

The Federal Association for the Protection of Critical Infrastructures (BSKI) also said there was a lot of catching up to do as many electricity pylons are located in undeveloped areas, making it easy to access these objects.

“There is still a huge field of activity [to implement] here,” the deputy chairman of BSKI’s board, Hans-Walter Borries, told rbb-Inforadio.

Energy suppliers and grid operators would have to invest in the installation of cameras, motion detectors and sensors on electricity pylons in sensitive locations.

“The fact is that so far, only a fraction of a percent has been invested in corporate security,” said Borries. “In the future, we must bear in mind that we will probably have to prioritize corporate security in a higher percentage range.”

On Tuesday, previously unknown perpetrators set fire to an electricity pylon in a field in East Brandenburg, which also supplies power to the massive Tesla factory in Grünheide near Berlin. The pylon was freely accessible.

Production at the only European factory of Elon Musk’s company was halted. Tens of thousands of residents were also affected by the power outage.

The Tesla factory and a logistics centre belonging to the Edeka supermarket chain were still without power on Saturday. They expected the outage to be resolved in around a week.

The responsible electricity grid operator Edis did not give a date but said they were in the process of “quickly restoring the power supply to Tesla and the logistics centre.”

The left-wing extremist Volcano Group, previously unknown, declared that it was responsible for the attack. The police consider a letter of confession to be authentic.

The Federal Public Prosecutor’s Office took over the investigation after the attack. Its investigation is based on an initial suspicion of membership of a terrorist organization, anti-constitutional sabotage and joint arson, among other offences.

Tesla employees showed solidarity with their company at a rally organized by the works council on Friday evening. Around 2,000 people gathered in front of the car manufacturer’s plant in Grünheide and used torches on their mobile phones to signal their support.

At the same time, the protest continued against Tesla’s plans to massively expand the factory. Environmentalists have been occupying a wooded area since last week and have erected tree houses there.

An alliance calling itself “Turn off Tesla’s tap” has called for a demonstration on Sunday afternoon and was expecting several hundred participants.

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