The NEOM Mega-City: Can the Future of Innovation be Found in Saudi Arabia?

OVER THE AIR, ZLOGS  /   /  By LG HVAC

Could a world powered entirely by green energy become a reality sooner than we think? Plans to transform over 10,000mi² (29,000km²) of a desert on the coast of the Red Sea into a sprawling high-tech metropolis were announced by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salmon earlier in 2017 and the news is causing ripples of excitement and doubt throughout the business community. The project, known as ‘NEOM’ has the potential to revolutionize the way we think about cities and energy and could spearhead a trend in future the energy and development industries. Detailed designs and strategies for the NEOM project have yet to be disclosed and while many global investors are scrambling to get involved in the project, both technological and social feasibility will be factors in whether NEOM could become a reality. The complexity and energy required to manage systems for security, climate control, and transportation on green energy present new and exciting challenges that NEOM developers are looking to meet head-on.

 

The NEOM project will transform the landscape of the Red Sea coast (Image via NEOM website)

NEOM’s Ambitions

The NEOM project will be funded by more than USD 500 billion coming from the Saudi government as well as private Saudi and international investors with early stages of development set to be completed by as early as 2025. Plans for the development hosted mainly in Saudi Arabia will expand into Egypt and Jordan, and also include a bridge over the Red Sea into Egypt connecting the city to the African continent. The development is meant to be powered by expansive fields of solar panels and wind turbines while offering the scientific community the ability to transform the future in areas such as energy production, food production, manufacturing, transportation, and biotech. Operating complex structures with large HVAC systems on new and renewable energy sources will require extremely efficient components to reduce overall energy consumption and selecting the proper solutions will be key to the success of the endeavor. A major selling point of the project is sustainable living that could be a model for cities of the future. Analysts and project leaders also anticipate substantial job creation and drive business to the region through the development of new economic sectors as economic and social liberties are solidified in Saudi Arabia.

 

The NEOM development will be located on the Northern coast of the Red See (Image via NEOM website)

-Find out more about the NEOM project on the official promotional website: http://discoverneom.com/

The mega-city is meant to be powered by sustainable energy

What is Standing in the Way?

Prince Mohammed has said that the mega-city powered by alternative energy sources will ‘…stimulate economic growth and diversification by nurturing international innovation and manufacturing…’ in a move to create a post-oil economy in Saudi Arabia. But potential investors will be interested in seeing plans that can work outside the constraints of the slow-moving bureaucracy and socially conservative restrictions of Saudi Arabia. There are also doubts cast by other development projects in the Middle-East modeled after the success of Dubai that failed to gain traction with investors and become the successful hubs for business and innovation achieved in Dubai. Typically, plans of this sort generated steam on the back of rising oil prices and commonly floundered once oil prices re-stabilized. Managing the project so that it does not conflict or clash with the conservative religious establishment in Saudi Arabia while maintaining a strong economy that has been traditionally based on oil in the kingdom will also be a unique challenge for NOEM developers.

 

NEOM developers must balance development with conservative Saudi culture.

 

The potential for success of the NEOM project is being met with great anticipation in the global community despite apprehensions from certain sectors. As the project develops, we can expect to see strong developments in sustainable living and technological innovation through the ambitions of Prince Mohammed and his associates. The prince noted that ‘This place is not for conventional people or conventional companies, this will be a place for the dreamers of the world.’ We look forward to a community where the dreamers of the world can thrive not just in Saudi Arabia, but across the globe and beyond.

 

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