Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Richard Branson's Mosquito island eco-resort

Our last article was on Syria - let's go to a totally different world ... Branson's ecoresort project ;-)

The Chairman of the Virgin Group is to develop an eco-resort in the Caribbean where it is planned to create twenty exclusive villas as well as a beachfront restaurant on the new “Mosquito Island”, which he says will be the most environmentally-friendly resort in the world. Plans for the resort include energy power from wind turbines and solar panels, with the buildings designed to utilize local wind patterns so as to avoid the need for air conditioning. All the food will be come from local, organic sources and all motorized transport will be powered by biofuels. Branson’s British Virgin Islands, he hopes, will serve as a model for other resort destinations throughout the Caribbean to move toward clean and renewable alternatives to carbon fuels, and that rising oil prices are a catalyst for governments to develop more environmenal and sustainable projects for the future. Branson bought the 124-acre island in 2007 for $13.2 million. It will join the Virgin Limited Edition of properties owned or partially owned by Branson. Mosquito Island sits in North Sound and is about a mile from 74-acre Necker Island, which Branson purchased in 1976 for $171,000 and is often rented out to celebrities and wedding parties. Both islands are east of Puerto Rico on the eastern end of the BVI chain. “It is actually inexcusable for the Caribbean to need to use dirty fuels anymore when it has all these natural resources on its doorstep,” said Branson, as quoted by Business Week. “We’ve managed to prove on paper and now we’ll prove in reality that the Caribbean could run with the determination of governments on solar and wind. There is no need to continue using dirty fuels.” Branson is partnering with several alternative energy consultants on the Mosquito Island project, including Ken Kao, a Boston-based architect and lecturer at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design. “The renewable energy sources of sun and wind are very promising,” Kao said. “The islands receive significant solar radiance and extensive winds.” Although the development is in its earliest stages, British Virgin Islands government is said to so far be keen on the idea. “They are trying to go green and be environmentally friendly with every aspect of the project. That’s definitely very good for the B.V.I. because we’re such a small set of islands,” said Dylan Penn, the planner coordinating the government review of the resort project.

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