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Smaller city near Dresden hopes for boost following TSMC's arrival

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Fürstenzug in Dresden, Germany. CNA photo March 1, 2024

Dresden, March 2 (CNA) The new Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) fab in Dresden, Germany is expected to bring changes and progress not only to the main "Silicon Saxony" hub but also to smaller cities nearby, including Weinböhla.

Ahead of the company's arrival, CNA talked to Siegfried Zenker, the mayor of Weinböhla, who said, "We were very, very happy when we first heard that TSMC was considering a site in Dresden."

Zenker said the city "thought it would be wonderful to be open for TSMC as well," because Bosch, one of the companies working with TSMC in setting up European Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., has already opted it for its residential location for employees working at its existing locations in Dresden.

Around 4 hectares of development land will be immediately available if TSMC wants residential infrastructure for its employees, the mayor said, adding that the area could easily be expanded to up to 85 hectares.

He also highlighted how accessible the new TSMC site is from Weinböhla, explaining that there is a direct tram and railway line, or a highway that links the two locations in 11 minutes by car.

Zenker said a regional bus company has also agreed to establish a bus line to "Silicon Saxony" if needed.

The mayor said he expects "very positive effects" from the fab, "such as a strong economic boost for the entire region and the creation of modern workplaces."

Regarding the influx of employees working at the new factory, he stressed, "We would like to play our part in creating necessary social infrastructure such as kindergartens, flats, and schools."

There is a "highly experienced and interculturally competent educational institution" in Weinböhla, the mayor said, adding that he would also push for the school to have Mandarin courses.

Zenker told CNA that the small cities around Dresden have been preparing for a possible influx of new residents and that the Saxony state government may convene a meeting with their representatives to coordinate supporting measures.

TSMC aims to begin construction of the plant in Dresden in the second half of the year and to start production by the end of 2027.

According to a report from Saxony news outlet Oiger, due to TSMC and other tech projects, it is expected that around 10,000 new employees will relocate to Dresden by 2030.

When their families are included, the population of Dresden and the surrounding areas could be boosted by several tens of thousands, the report said.

Other infrastructure projects will be needed, including stronger electricity and water supplies for the entire semiconductor industry, as well as better transport connections.

The Dresden government estimates that industrial water use will roughly double in the next 20 years, prompting an investment from the energy supplier "Sachsenenergie" of 317 million euros (US$344 million) over the next few years to expand Dresden's water network and set up a separate supply for the technology factories, the report said.

Dresden's drainage system is building a new industrial water collector, which will be completed by 2026, it added.

Regarding the new fab's future electricity consumption, Sachsenenergie sees the need for a new substation, which will require around 20 hectares of space in the already-crowded industrial region. This will be "a real challenge given the shortage of space," according to the report.

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