Even the Debrecen city government does not yet know the exact parameters and schedule of the CATL investment. Only as far as the water demand of the battery factory to be established in the Southern Economic Zone is concerned – this is currently at the center of concerns – the Chinese company decided on Debrecen with the knowledge that the water utility capacity of the entire (!) southern industrial area will be 1080 cubic meters per hour by the state and the municipality. after the infrastructure to be completed (for comparison: today this performance is 180 cubic meters per hour, while the current capacity of 180 cubic meters per hour for wastewater would be increased to 498.). László Papp spoke about this at the municipality’s general assembly on August 18, where the mayor made a radical statement to the opposition’s suggestion that he is not afraid that the Chinese investment, marked as the investment of all time, will be reclassified as a special economic zone by the government, following the example of Samsung in Göd. , takes it away from Debrecen, and channels all related important decisions, benefits, and taxes to the county government.
“It hasn’t appeared in my worst nightmares so far.” Since we maintain a good relationship with the government, the chances of raising it are zero. If it did happen, I myself would end my political career at that moment. I repeat, there are no circumstances to suggest such a step, he said, adding: let the representatives dismiss the idea, because “I don’t want such news to spread”.
When asked how many of the 9,000 employees planned to be employed will be foreigners, László Papp responded by saying, “we are all EU believers in the general assembly”, and the flow of labor in the European Union is free, so no guarantee can be given for the employment of purely Hungarians. – The city administration has been working to strengthen vocational training for many years so that as many people educated in Debrecen as possible can take up work – he emphasized.It has been said: CATL battery cells and modules, the market leader in energy storage, are manufactured in the city of Cívis for several European vehicle manufacturers. For this, a large amount of solar energy is used, but the battery parks are not established in Debrecen.
What do you consider a personal failure?
László Papp for the EUR 7.34 billion investment announced on August 12 – for which this week the Debrecen The LMP, the DK and the Civil Forum Debrecen Association react – they made several comments.
Thus, he said that the negotiations with the Chinese began around 2018, but they stopped for a while because, as it turned out, the company managed to bring the construction of a factory in Germany under the roof (they are already at the test plant in Arnstadt). Although the news is about the creation of 9,000 jobs, the Debrecen city government does not yet know the schedule and year in which the battery factory will be built, such as how many people are expected to be employed in the first stage of the multi-year process in Debrecen, which is expected to culminate in 2024.
– The investments of the 1990s and 2000s were aimed at Western Hungary and Central Hungary, so many people from Trans-Tiszántúl and Northern Hungary migrated to these areas. However, we do not want Debrecen, with a large university, to be only a background base for the industry further west of us – he reminded, emphasizing that
he considers any emigration that occurs due to the lack of jobs and job opportunities to be a personal failure.
It responds to complaints about environmental impact and environmental pollution by requiring industrial players to obtain a single environmental use permit for each investment, for which the relevant authorities not only examine the activity within the territorial boundary, but also its impact on the environment. in the EU, such investors must also prove that they provide the best technical standards available in the given industrial segment. – This is not to say that industrial activity does not affect the environment. But yes, there is no room for fear-mongering, these decisions must be made with a cool head and rationally. Otherwise, 30-40 battery factories would not have been built across Europe. Neither in Debrecen nor in any other EU city can an operating and construction permit be obtained for an investment that involves the environmental damage envisioned by the opposition, he continued.
As for water consumption, it was at its “peak” in the mid-1980s, when, according to data from Debreceni Vízmű Zrt., daily water consumption was close to 90,000 cubic meters. Currently, this does not even reach 40,000 cubic meters, which, in László Papp’s reading, means that water use would not reach the previous level of 40 even with the saturation of the industrial areas in Debrecen (at that time, the food industry was particularly water-demanding).Today, according to experts, 70,000-80,000 cubic meters of water flows under Debrecen every day, and 30,000 cubic meters of water comes from the Keleti main channel, so according to the mayor, there is no reason to worry about the city’s water supply. He added: currently, of the 40,000 cubic meters of Debrecen’s water consumption per day, the industrial part does not reach 10,000 cubic meters.
He denied, or rather called it nonsense, that the Civaqua program would be implemented because of CATL. He pointed out that, on the one hand, Civaqua will serve to irrigate Hajdúhátság, and on the other hand, 21,000-23,000 cubic meters of water per day will flow directly into the city with the Tóco, once the ongoing first phase is finished (and the second beat would triple that).
He made an important reference in this part.
– If the strategy needs to be reconsidered in any way, it is to not divert the rainwater from different parts of the city, as was necessary due to the heavy rains, but to create the possibility of collecting it! We can even encourage households to do this: wherever possible, build drains, so let’s keep the water, don’t let it run away!
– he said, adding, “this will obviously have to be discussed separately”.
- József Jánki (DK) is worried about the sulfuric acid demand of the factory, saying that the “drip” of a few liters can cause damage. He indicated that their intention is not to instill fear, but that they speak of concern. In response to the question about the impact study, clerk Antal Szekeres explained: the environmental protection authority will conduct a detailed impact assessment procedure in connection with the operation of the factory. This is in line with EU standards and the EU standard and itemized criteria for battery factories. This procedure will also make the most important parameters of the operation of the Debrecen factory known to the public, it is mandatory to involve the municipality in how to ensure a separate mandatory public hearing.
- Bence Szabó (Momentum) inquired about the factory’s daily water consumption (the answer can be found at the beginning of our article), while
- Gondola Zsolt Zoárd (Civil Fórum Debrecen Egyesület) announced the CATL business from a communication point of view (the people of Debrecen may feel that they have made a decision over their heads). He was the one to whose suggestion (can the government initiate the investment), the mayor gave the already quoted answer. Deputy mayors László Papp and Lajos Barcsa confirmed that CATL must also “fit in” with the future water use of 1,080 cubic meters per hour for the entire Southern Economic Zone. The representative missed the discussion that the city administration had done with the opposition during the BMW investment, but not in the case of CATL.
- For the time being, László Mándi (Momentum) is not reassured by the mayor’s answers from the point of view of environmental protection, he says that the state and local government guarantee of the ability of the specialized authorities to enforce their position against the investor is questionable.
- Imre Vaszkó (DK) is waiting, the authorities will be strict with the Chinese company during the licensing process. In response to this, László Papp noted that he had calculated that the construction of a battery factory would not necessarily be sympathetic, so he was open to providing the widest possible range of information during the process. He also stated that if he experiences “things that are not reassuring”, he will voice them himself.
- János Illyés (Civil Fó Debrecen Egyesület) urged the making of a short film so that as many people as possible could gain knowledge about what happens in battery production and what happens during use. The mayor expressed his support upon hearing the request.