ENOWA to develop world’s first high-voltage smart grid

 To achieve 100 percent renewable electricity in NEOM, ENOWA CEO Peter Terium emphasized the crucial role of an efficient grid.
To achieve 100 percent renewable electricity in NEOM, ENOWA CEO Peter Terium emphasized the crucial role of an efficient grid.
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Updated 02 February 2024
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ENOWA to develop world’s first high-voltage smart grid

ENOWA to develop world’s first high-voltage smart grid

DUBAI: NEOM’s water and electricity subsidiary ENOWA has developed a blueprint for the world’s first renewable, high-voltage smart grid, Peter Terium, the company’s CEO, told Arab News.

In an interview on the sidelines of the 2023 UN Climate Change Conference, Terium said that the “grid of microgrids” will allow ENOWA to supply the NEOM region with sizable, 100 percent renewable electricity that simultaneously provides a 50 percent reduction of the corridor footprint.

According to the CEO, the principle of smart grids is simple, as they are traditionally used on a small scale in buildings. However, the sheer size of the development and the scope of coverage needed for the nine to 10 million individuals who will be residing in NEOM adds to the difficulty of the undertaking.

“That’s a huge achievement given it’s the size that makes it complex. You know, one windmill, a refrigerator, and a television are all 100 percent renewable. But a NEOM within the Kingdom that eventually is going to have nine to 10 million inhabitants. That’s very sizable,” Terium said.

In order to ensure minimum disturbance to the natural terrain and minimize visual disruption, the CEO noted that this would require limiting the number of corridors and implementing part of the grid to operate underground.

To achieve 100 percent renewable electricity in NEOM, Terium emphasized the crucial role of an efficient grid, highlighting that individuals often underestimate that all solar and wind farms require connectivity to “bring the electrons to the customer.”

Another key element, the CEO underscored, is storage. In order to ensure the stabilization, backup, and security of its renewable supply, the giga-project is implementing a portfolio of storage solutions.

The development is investing “billions and billions of Saudi riyals” to ensure that its first customers have access to green electricity, sustainable water, and reliable quality electricity through its grid and storage.

“One example is already for sure and we are expanding into the market with that, which is the world’s largest closed-loop pump, hydro storage, and it combines the traditional form of water-based hydro storage, so a small upper lake and a lower lake,” Terium said.

“That has two effects. First of all, it reduces the evaporation of the water. So that’s an economic effect. But the second effect is that it is a great attractor for birds. Birds and wildlife. So we have a major positive solution for storage that is pretty sizable, the largest in the world,” he added.

Considering the challenges ahead, the CEO highlighted that the development isn’t exclusively centered on creating new technologies. Instead, their key focus is to ensure that the electricity supplied to the NEOM region is renewable, dependable, and affordable.

While not entirely cheap, mature large-scale solar and wind technologies remain affordable, underscored Terium, and will thus be primarily implemented into the framework of connectivity used by the futuristic city.

“The NEOM region has a combination of very intensive solar irradiation and very abundant wind profiling — the solar during the day and the wind mainly in the evening. That makes it a perfect combination to take these two cheapest renewable technologies and get as much as possible out of them,” he outlined.

While the existing infrastructure for electricity amounted to half a gigawatt to 1 GW, the company has “ramped that up” to 3 GW with the aim of 5-6 GW in the near future.

According to Terium, the first tenders of solar and wind power plants have already been established, and the large green hydrogen plant being built will amount to 5-6 GW of installed capacity for power generation by the year 2026.

Due to the size of the NEOM development, the executive underscored that ENOWA is currently at about 5 percent completion of its infrastructure, with the goal of accelerating to 10 percent in the coming 12 to 18 months.

He said: “NEOM is going to be a large undertaking. And what we do is build the infrastructure in line with the growth of NEOM. So that’s why the percentage of 5 or 10 percent sounds low, but it is connected to the size, eventually, of NEOM. And then again, five or 10 eventually of a massive undertaking is already a huge project.”

The company is working with the Kingdom’s Ministry of Energy and collaborating with entities like the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in its energy-centric ventures. Alongside KAUST, ENOWA will be installing the first carbon capture capacity into a gas-fired plant in the Kingdom. The executive said: “That is one example, but there are many other ones and all the institutions that are there in the Kingdom we work with, but also outside of the Kingdom.”

Through collaboration, it hopes to bring some of its ideas on how to scale renewable energy to the region through its renewable energy approaches and Saudi Arabia’s green hydrogen strategy, a part of which is the NEOM green hydrogen plant.

Terium said: “The Kingdom has now embarked upon a hydrogen strategy and a renewable energy strategy, but it may take advantage of some of the lessons learned that we had in the early stage. And we can bring in some of our ideas of how you can do that bigger and at a larger scale.”

What is important, according to the CEO, is that hydrogen needs to reach its customers, and there are more cost-effective solutions than shipping it in the form of ammonia.

Thus the decision to build a pipeline corridor infrastructure to Europe is something “that only a country like Saudi Arabia can do because that’s a job and a size which is even way too big for even NEOM.”


NHC signs deals to revolutionize real estate sector with innovative technologies

NHC signs deals to revolutionize real estate sector with innovative technologies
Updated 7 sec ago
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NHC signs deals to revolutionize real estate sector with innovative technologies

NHC signs deals to revolutionize real estate sector with innovative technologies

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s National Housing Co. signed two agreements at LEAP 2024, aiming to support real estate activities in the Kingdom by crafting unique business intelligence solutions.

The deal were signed with data science company Quant and Paseetah Tech Solutions to empower technologies in the real estate market to enhance services provided to customers interested in making investments, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

The chief of solutions sector, Rayan Al-Aql, represented the National Housing Co. in signing the agreement, while Quant CEO Ahmed Bukhamseen and Omar Al-Omar, CEO of Paseetah Tech Solutions, represented their respective companies.

The agreements aim to enable modern technologies in the real estate sector by leveraging information owned by the NHC to contribute to creating unique solutions serving the market.

This includes generating more accurate real estate analytics, supporting innovation in data analysis, and creating real estate indicators that enhance the market’s reliance on data in property decisions. This facilitates informed decision-making for investors and buyers, the SPA reported.

NHC is showcasing its services and technological achievements at the LEAP conference currently underway in Riyadh. 

These achievements have benefited over 10 million people across eight government digital platforms. 

The company has also documented more than 9 million residential and commercial lease contracts, achieved over 6.5 million downloads for the “Sakani” application, operated and developed the “Balady” platform under the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs and Housing, among other technological accomplishments associated with the digital platforms operated and developed by the NHC.

Earlier in February, the National Housing Co. announced that it would build a total of 3,800 homes after forging six partnership agreements worth SR2 billion ($533 million). 

These deals, which were signed with several real estate developers, aim to build residential units in the Riyadh southwestern community of Al-Asalah, with prices starting from SR475,000, according to the Saudi Press Agency. 

SPA added that this initiative is part of a comprehensive program of urban development spearheaded by the NHC aiming to revolutionize the housing landscape by introducing innovative concepts and integrated services, ultimately enhancing the quality of life across all sectors of society.


Saudi Arabia named ‘most improved country overall’ in US Chamber of Commerce IP Index

Saudi Arabia named ‘most improved country overall’ in US Chamber of Commerce IP Index
Updated 04 March 2024
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Saudi Arabia named ‘most improved country overall’ in US Chamber of Commerce IP Index

Saudi Arabia named ‘most improved country overall’ in US Chamber of Commerce IP Index

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has received recognition as “the most improved country overall” in the 12th edition of the US Chamber of Commerce International Intellectual Property Index. 

Released on March 2, the report emphasizes the several achievements of the Kingdom, with Vice President of Middle East Affairs at the US Chamber of Commerce Steve Lutes telling Arab News that Saudi Arabia has made significant strides in the technology sector over the past year.

“Specifically, I think this year the Kingdom did sign on to some important international treaties and they’ve made some other progress on both the enforcement side and some other of the indicators,” Lutes said on the sidelines of the LEAP 2024 conference.

“The Kingdom moving up in ranking gives more confidence to investors,” he added. 

Lutes went on to say that the body aims to encourage partnerships with the business community, government, and academia in Saudi Arabia to drive the establishment of a diversified, knowledge-based economy aligned with Vision 2030.

The US Chamber of Commerce considers over 50 indices when ranking countries, Lutes added. 

“Some of this looks very marginal. But really, when you think about it from an economic perspective, these are very important drivers because these are the sorts of things that companies look at. Is my IP going to be safe? Is it going to be protected? Are rules going to be enforced? And that’s where you get the investment in value and innovation,” said the vice-president.

The Kingdom allocates a total of $2 million across all funding rounds dedicated to artificial intelligence companies and over $3 billion proportional to gross domestic product with a ranking position of 31 in the Global AI index.

“We’ve been looking at this as governments around the globe start to grapple with the regulatory frameworks for artificial intelligence. The Chamber commissioned a report that was largely targeted toward a domestic audience and had some policy recommendations in that,” said Lutes.

A report by the European Centre for International Political Economy and the US Chamber of Commerce, titled “The Opportunity of Artificial Intelligence: Boosting Productivity and Growth in Saudi Arabia,” will be released in March.

The study will include a breakdown covering the benefits of AI for the Kingdom, endowments and digital industry structures, and AI policies going forward. 

“It has some sector-by-sector analysis where we think it can be the most impactful. In my mind, though, the biggest message is for policymakers,” Lutes said, adding: “One of those is investing, for example, in human capital. You have to have the workforce that’s ready to take on these technologies and bring it to government processes, to business processes and see it diffuse. So, when it comes to the sectors, I think, you know, healthcare and education are two that are highlighted in particular as having the most upside.”

Lutes added this is his first time attending LEAP, which is now in its third edition, and the Chamber has been collaborating with the Ministry of Communications and the Saudi Authority for Data and Artificial Intelligence. 

“We are at the LEAP Conference and IP is so fundamental to that. So, kudos to the Kingdom this year. And I guess our message is let’s not rest on our laurels. Let’s continue to work together to see if we can continue to see the Kingdom climb in that index as well,” he concluded. 

LEAP, held in Riyadh from March 4-7, is an annual premier tech event founded in 2022 by the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology. It convenes leading professionals from the sector to deliberate on the industry’s future and the innovative opportunities ahead.


Riyadh forum explores Saudi-Brazil business, trade ties

Riyadh forum explores Saudi-Brazil business, trade ties
Updated 04 March 2024
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Riyadh forum explores Saudi-Brazil business, trade ties

Riyadh forum explores Saudi-Brazil business, trade ties
  • South American country ‘an important trading partner’ for the Kingdom, says envoy
  • Joint council launched after Brazilian president’s visit late last year

LONDON: The Saudi-Brazilian Business Forum in Riyadh was attended by more than 150 investors from both countries on Monday, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

The event, hosted by the Federation of Saudi Chambers and Brazil’s Lide Group, aimed to improve business and trade ties.

Dr. Faisal Ghulam, Saudi ambassador to Brazil, delivered a speech at the forum in which he praised the strong economic relations between the two countries built over 55 years.

He described Brazil as “an important trading partner” for the Kingdom. Annual trade between the two countries stands at $8 billion.

Ghulam lauded the establishment of a Saudi-Brazilian coordination council following President Lula da Silva’s visit to the Kingdom late last year.

Saudi Vision 2030 is providing Brazilian investors with significant opportunities, paving the way for improved trade ties, said Luiz Fernando Furlan, chairman of Lide’s board.

The newly established council will “work to advance the partnership, overcome challenges, and facilitate visas for the business communities from the two countries,” said its Chairman Mishal bin Hithlain.

Lide chief Joao Doria called on the Brazilian business community to explore the “great investment opportunities” available in the Kingdom through Vision 2030.

The forum covered key sectors at the heart of trade between the two countries, including aviation, energy, logistics, mining, agriculture, real estate and healthcare. It was the first event hosted by Lide after the firm opened offices in Riyadh.

The company’s Saudi representative, Malik Al-Qahtani, pledged to serve the business sectors of both countries and improve the ease of operations for Saudi and Brazilian investors.


Saudi aviation professions localization plan enters 2nd phase

Saudi aviation professions localization plan enters 2nd phase
Updated 04 March 2024
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Saudi aviation professions localization plan enters 2nd phase

Saudi aviation professions localization plan enters 2nd phase

RIYADH: The number of Saudi flight attendants and fixed-wing pilots is set to increase as the localization plan for the Kingdom’s aviation sector enters its second phase.

The Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development, in collaboration with the Ministry of Transport and Logistic Services, has announced the implementation of the second phase of localizing licensed aviation professions in private sector establishments employing five or more individuals in targeted aviation professions.

In the second phase, the HRSD has specified the professions targeted, setting a 60 percent target for flight attendants and a 70 percent ratio for fixed-wing pilots, contingent on employees in the aviation professions obtaining the professional accreditation certificate from the General Authority of Civil Aviation.

The Ministry of Transport has reiterated its commitment to overseeing the implementation of the program’s second phase. It aims to enable private sector establishments to leverage all support and employment programs offered by the Human Resources and Social Development System to aid in the recruitment and retention of national talent.

The HRSD has issued procedural guidelines explaining the details of the decision, its implementation, and the support and employment programs provided to private sector establishments.

Speaking to Arab News on the sidelines of the Saudi Airport Exhibition, held at the Riyadh International Convention and Exhibition Center in December 2023, Mervat Sultan, president of the Women in Aviation Middle East Chapter, noted a significant boom, with an increase in airports, establishment of new airlines, and a rising number of tourists. 

She added that the aviation industry in Saudi Arabia is “becoming bigger and bigger and would be leading the industry in the next 20 years.”

In 2022, Ahmed Al-Rajhi, minister of HRSD, issued a notification nationalizing a number of professions and economic activities — including licensed aviation professions, opticians, and periodic inspection activity, as well as postal service outlets and more. 

The decision to localize licensed aviation professions was announced to be implemented in two phases. The first one became effective on March 15, 2023.

In line with its Vision 2030, Saudi Arabia is undertaking an ambitious initiative to empower its citizens and boost their global competitiveness. 


Closing Bell: Saudi main index slips to close at 12,434 

Closing Bell: Saudi main index slips to close at 12,434 
Updated 04 March 2024
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Closing Bell: Saudi main index slips to close at 12,434 

Closing Bell: Saudi main index slips to close at 12,434 

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Tadawul All Share Index slipped on Monday, losing 120.61 points, or 0.96 percent, to close at 12,434.59. 

The total trading turnover of the benchmark index was SR10.50 billion ($2.80 billion) as 43 of the listed stocks advanced, while 180 retreated.  

Similarly, the MSCI Tadawul Index decreased by 17.59 points, or 1.09 percent, to close at 1,592.03. 

Also, the Kingdom’s parallel market Nomu slipped, losing 515.71 points, or 1.91 percent, to close at 26,446.68. This comes as 16 of the listed stocks advanced, while 47 retreated. 

The best-performing stock of the day was Al-Baha Investment and Development Co., with an increase of 7.14 percent in its share price, reaching SR0.15. 

Other top performers include Saudi Steel Pipe Co. and ACWA Power, whose share prices soared by 5.74 percent and 5.41 percent, to stand at SR57.10 and SR276.80, respectively. 

In addition to this, other notable performers included Saudi Ceramic Co. and SAL Saudi Logistics Services Co. 

On the contrary, the day’s least favorable performer was Seera Group Holding, witnessing a 9.91 percent decline in its share price to SR29.55. 

Furthermore, Alkhaleej Training and Education Co. and AYYAN Investment Co. were among the weakest performers, experiencing drops of 9.88 percent and 7.56 percent, settling at SR33.75 and SR26.90, respectively. 

Moreover, other weak performers also included Mobile Telecommunication Co. Saudi Arabia and Maharah Human Resources Co. 

On the announcements front, Al Rajhi Bank disclosed its plan to issue sustainable sukuk in US dollars, as per its statement on Tadawul. The issuance, under the revised international sukuk program, will be facilitated through a special purpose company and extended to qualified investors globally. 

According to the statement, the value and terms of the sustainable sukuk offering will be determined based on market conditions, to meet the bank’s financial and strategic objectives within the framework of its sustainability financing.