When Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman landed his helicopter on the edge of the Saudi Arabian desert beside the Red Sea a few years ago, it wasn’t rocky desert and empty coastline that he saw, but instead over 26,000km2 of inspiration. It was there he came up with ambitious plans for a $500bn futuristic mega-city powered by renewable energy: NEOM.
NEOM is a bold and audacious dream; a vision of what a new future might look – in fact, NEOM means ‘new future’. It’s an attempt to do something that’s never been done before, and it will be a place where entrepreneurship and innovation will chart the course for this ‘new future’. With flying cars and robotic domestic help, NEOM will be a home for people who dream big and want to be part of building a new model for sustainable living, working and prospering.
It is also the flagship project of Saudi Arabia’s post-oil diversification plan, 2030 Vision, and the region has an ambition to become the world’s largest producer and exporter of green hydrogen, chemicals and fuels through dedicated partnerships and alliances.
“Saudi Arabia has understood that its future is to export green energy, and not oil and gas. If you look at the balance sheet of Saudi Arabia at the moment, of course it’s all oil & gas, but in the future, they’re really looking at green energy,” said Roland Käppner, Executive Director Hydrogen Energy Sector at NEOM, speaking at f-cell Stuttgart in September 2020.
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