Atlassian billionaire Mike Cannon-Brookes tackled Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s support for coal power in a new Twitter crusade aimed at building support for the transition to 100 per cent renewable energy.
In a tweet reminiscent of his famous Twitter negotiation in March last year to persuade Tesla founder Elon Musk to build a big battery in South Australia, Mr Cannon-Brookes reacted sharply to Mr Morrison’s “fair dinkum power” video, in which he said that “renewables are great” but need to be backed up by “fair dinkum power” when the wind isn’t blowing and the sun isn’t shining.
Calling it a “bulls–t video”, Mr Cannon-Brookes sent more tweets suggesting logos and slogans such as “Fair Dinkum Aussie power is green, it’s leafy, it’s bright there’s wind, there’s sun”, “Fair Dinkum is good for the environment _and_ the wallet. We’re literally plugging in nature to power our devices” and “Turn it on, turn it off. Fair Dinkum Aussie power is reliable. It’s there when you need it – but it also comes from natural, renewable sources. Believe it”.
His followers will vote on the ideas. But unlike when he asked Mr Musk if he was serious abut helping SA solve its power system woes – which led to a 100 megawatt battery being commissioned at the Hornsdale wind farm six months later – Mr Cannon-Brookes didn’t get a rise out of Mr Morrison at all.
The Twitter ramble came as the Australian Renewable Energy Agency unveiled a $350,000 grant to Brisbane-based Hivve to trial self-sufficient off-grid climate-controlled classrooms equipped with solar panels and Tesla batteries at Bracken Ridge High School in Brisbane, and Dapto High School and Holsworthy Catholic Primary School in NSW.
Each Hivve classroom could save as much as $3,000 a year in energy bills and up to $30,000 in up front connection costs. Surplus power can also be sold back to the grid, and Hivve aims to roll its classrooms out nationally.
Meanwhile, the NSW Coalition government turned its back on Mr Morrison’s “fair dinkum power” campaign and briefed industry on its $55 million NSW Emerging Energy Program which aims to support large scale dispatchable – or “firm” – technology including solar power, batteries and pumped hydro.
“We want to do everything we can to enable the private sector to accelerate projects that deliver clean, reliable and affordable energy for NSW consumers. The expertise is right here at home – and we want to use it,” NSW energy minister Don Harwin said.