Two Saudi companies have been given a green light to develop data centres in one of Saudi Arabia’s newest – and possibly smartest – cities.
Permission was given by The General Authority of Competition in Saudi Arabia for the companies – Neom and FAS Energy – to develop and operate data centres in a planned Saudi city, also called, by no coincidence, Neom.
The Authority tweeted this week that it had no objection to a proposed joint venture between Neom and FAS to develop, own and operate the next generation of sustainable ultra-large-scale data centres in the new city.
Neom is to be built in the Tabuk Province of north-western Saudi Arabia. It is planned to incorporate smart city technologies and also to function as a tourist destination. Saudi Arabia aims to complete the first section of Neom by 2025. Construction on the new city is due to begin this year.
The Neom company leading the project is wholly owned by the Public Investment Fund, a sovereign wealth fund. The aim, says the website Data Centre Dynamics, is to create a data-intensive, highly-automated smart city with a starting investment of $500 billion.
However, there is already some controversy surrounding the project as it could mean displacing a tribe – made up of some 20,000 people – that lives in the area.
Established in 2013, FAS Energy says its sole strategic focus is to develop and build utility-scale PV solar parks across the MENA region and globally. It is a subsidiary of the Fawaz Alhokair Group, the largest group of companies in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia focusing on retail and real estate business sectors.