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In large-scale projects, speed, sustainable thinking, and planning improve productivity and reduce emissions. The construction industry has evolved to reduce waste, energy, and various inefficiencies at building sites.
Developed as part of Vision 2030 plan to transform the country, NEOM is the largest giga project developed in the kingdom. The futuristic city in northwest Saudi Arabia, powered by 100% renewable energy, is said to “prioritize people and nature, creating a new model for sustainable living, working and prospering.”
To abide by the project’s mandate to build a 100% renewable-based energy system, NEOM’s water and electricity subsidiary, ENOWA, has started using helicopters to install high-voltage transmission line towers in the NEOM mountains, a Saudi first.
Instead of using carbon-intensive trucks, cranes, and other heavy equipment, individual parts are airlifted to the base of the transmission tower and assembled on-site.
The helicopter can transport five pieces of the transmission line tower at once. In a statement, ENOWA explained that there are many benefits to using helicopter-aided construction, one of which is greater efficiency as the method reduces workforce and additional work.
“The process is also much more harmonious with nature and limits the environmental impact of construction,” said a statement by ENOWA.
“Building the power grid transmission towers in the mountains of NEOM is an opportunity for ENOWA to set a standard for using this world-class method of construction, helping to offset environmental impact and preserve the integrity of the natural environment,” said Thorsten Schwarz, ENOWA’s executive director of Power System Engineering.
“In addition to allowing us to build NEOM’s infrastructure in harmony with nature, helicopter-aided construction will also be important for projects where the speed of delivery is a critical factor,” said Saudi engineer Jumanah Al-Murdhi, who is leading the project.
“It will minimize the time taken to deliver transmission towers, as well as the workforce and additional work that we normally require when building them using cranes,” she added.
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