Intel factory in Magdeburg: Politicians warn of enormous power consumption

The chip manufacturer Intel is planning to build a new semiconductor plant in Magdeburg. Good news for the region – but bad news for the energy balance.

The planned semiconductor plant in the Eulenberg industrial area in Magdeburg promises thousands of new jobs and an economic upswing for the capital of Saxony-Anhalt. New chips are to roll off the assembly line on 450 hectares. But there are also critical voices from politics, concerned about the massive increase in electricity consumption. Local politicians from the SPD and Bündnis 90/Die Grünen feared the US magazine Politico that the factory could double, possibly even triple, the city’s energy requirements. According to the transmission system operator 50Hertz, this is a realistic estimate.

Although Intel promises to supply the plant exclusively with green electricity, according to local politicians, a significant expansion of renewable energies is necessary for this. A report by the city assumes that the exclusive supply of green electricity is only likely from 2030 onwards. Intel itself announces that it is still too early to discuss the possible power consumption. Estimates at this point in time are “misleading and imprecise”. As soon as reliable figures are available, they would also be made public. Intel is planning an investment of around 17 billion US dollars.

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The city of Magdeburg consumed around 1,500 gigawatt hours of electricity in 2021, 90 percent of which came from private households. According to Julia Hess from the “New Responsibility” foundation, it is no surprise that large-scale chip production could double this consumption: “You just have to keep in mind how many small process steps take place there. (…) The more complex the chips become, the more energy is required to manufacture them.”

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