Neom, a city from scratch that will be bigger than Dubai (33 times bigger than NY City) and have more robots than humans.
BE2C2 Report— Saudi Arabia, one of the world’s biggest oil exporters, is planning to boost their economy with a fully renewable city. Located between Jordan and Egypt, this new metropolis will be over 33 times the size of New York City. The goal is to limit the focus on revenue from oil exports and to bring in companies that will help grow the new city.
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman announced the new project this week, called NEOM, at the Future Investment Initiative Conference in capital Riyadh organized by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign Public Investment Fund, and attended by more than 3500 of the who’s who of business, corporate executives and government officials from 88 countries.
“We want to live a normal life. A life in which our religion translates to tolerance, to our traditions of kindness,” the crown prince told the international investors.
“Seventy percent of the Saudi population is under 30, and honestly we will not spend the next 30 years of our lives dealing with destructive ideas. We will destroy them today and at once,” Salman said. In an earlier decision this month, the kingdom announced it will allow women to drive.
Estimated costs to construct the metropolis are at $500 billion. The futuristic city dubbed as “A Startup the Size of a Country” is expected to measure around 10,230 square miles in area, which is a significant amount of land to make fully renewable– it is situated on Saudi Arabia’s border with Jordan and Egypt–adjacent to the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aqaba and near maritime trade routes that use the Suez Canal. The Jordanian beach resort of Aqaba will be a drive away, and there will be a bridge linking Egypt and its Sharm El-Sheikh tourist town.
“Neom is situated on one of the world’s most prominent economic arteries… Its strategic location will also facilitate the zone’s rapid emergence as a global hub that connects Asia, Europe, and Africa,” Prince Mohammed bin Salman said.
“Everything will have a link with artificial intelligence, with the Internet of Things—everything.”
The country is hoping to fund $300 billion of the project while selling five percent Saudi Aramco, which is a petroleum and natural gas giant in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. Funding would come from sources like the Kingdom’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), investors from Japan’s SoftBank and Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF). RDIF, which is already an investor in Hyperloop, said the technology can be successfully used in NEOM.
Ultimately, there will be nine sectors of the city that will boost Saudi Arabia’s overall economy, including energy and water, mobility, and biotech.
Visions include the sun powering large landscapes of solar panels, and the electrical grid will also be powered by wind turbines. All of this, along with “whole new kinds of energy the world has yet to hear of,” is expected to power the gigantic metropolis. Since there’s a lot of real estate to traverse, they’re planning to add green and automated transport options.
Food is also getting the sustainable treatment, and the project promises fresh food despite the desert location. They’ll be farming in solar-powered greenhouses and vertical farms in densely-populated locations. This will bring in fresh crops to the community, adding to the great quality of life they’re hoping to achieve through its other sectors.
Klaus Kleinfeld, former CEO of Siemens AG and Alcoa Inc., has been selected to lead project development. Alcoa spun off a new company back in November 2016 for its automotive and aerospace parts manufacturing, calling it Arconic. Kleinfeld was the CEO for the new company until the following April when he resigned.
“This place is not for conventional people or conventional companies, this will be a place for the dreamers for the world,” Mohammed bin Salman said at the conference. “The strong political will and the desire of a nation. All the success factors are there to create something big in Saudi Arabia.”
With Saudi Arabia losing out on money in fossil fuel exports, it’s a good move to transition in order to keep the economy from going under. Is something like their visions of a massive renewable metropolis feasible? Las Vegas is the biggest city in the United States to run with 100 percent renewable power, and that has a land area of 136 square miles compared to NEOM’s 10,230 square miles.
These concepts should make us all intrigued by the potential, but we’ll see how it all pans out. They do expect to see $70 billion in revenue based on their nine sectors. One current goal is to complete one section of NEOM by 2025.