Massive battery will help power Foster + Partners luxury resort
Foster + Partners has designed a colorful island paradise for a tourist development in Saudi Arabia. Named Coral Bloom, it'll offer visitors a slice of beachside luxury and will be powered by a mixture of wind and solar power, backed up by an absolutely gigantic battery.
Saudi Arabia's oil isn't going to last forever, so with an eye to a fossil fuel-free future there's a development push in the country being spearheaded by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman with a view to turning it into a tourist hotspot. The ambition really is staggering, with the Qiddiya "giga-project" and Sharaan by Jean Nouvel just two notable examples.
Coral Bloom will be part of the larger Red Sea Project that also includes Foster + Partners' Red Sea Airport. It will situated on an island named Shurayrah, which is being positioned as the gateway to an additional 21 unspoilt islands for tourists to enjoy. The 22 islands will be powered by solar panels and wind turbines, which will be linked up to what's being promoted as the "world's largest" battery array at a massive 1,000 MWh. Australia's recently-announced 1.2 gigawatt battery will actually be a little larger, but you're still talking about a lot of energy either way. Other environmentally focused features include wastewater treatment, and the use of greywater recycling for irrigation.
"The [Red Sea Project] development on the west coast of Saudi Arabia, which spans 28,000 sq km [roughly 10,810 sq miles] and will include 50 hotels when complete, will be powered solely by wind and solar energy," explains a press release from the Red Sea Development Company. "The complex will rely on the world's largest battery storage facility at 1,000 MWh. Battery storage is needed to support site-wide energy resilience, providing the power required at night when solar generation is not possible. It will also ensure supply in the case of outages when shutdowns occur due to potential faults or sandstorms affecting production. The blend of solar and wind power generation will also guarantee a reliable supply of energy to the destination."
There will be a total of 11 hotels on Shurayrah, all designed by Foster + Partners. According to the firm, they're conceived with a post-COVID-19 world in mind and feature no corridors and a focus on open air space and ventilation. The buildings will be nestled into the landscape, with long boardwalks and jetties offering pleasant walks. Structurally, the resorts will be prefabricated offsite using lightweight materials. The area will also be partially re-landscaped, creating new beaches and lagoons, which are also meant to help fortify the island against rising sea levels, however the designers say that the natural beauty will be retained.
"Our vision for Shurayrah is inspired by the island's natural state, with the hotels designed to give the impression that they have washed up on the beaches and nestled among the dunes almost like driftwood," adds Foster + Partners' Gerard Evenden. "The materials we use and the low impact they have ensures that the pristine environment is protected, while the additions we make to the island serve to enhance what is already there – hence the name, Coral Bloom."
The first guests are expected to arrive at Coral Bloom in late 2022.