Solar not coal is the real ‘fair dinkum’ energy: billionaire Mike Cannon-Brookes

Victorian network crash could have been avoided with more solar installations and batteries.

Solar energy, not coal-fired power, is fair dinkum energy, according to Atlassian billionaire Mike Cannon-Brookes.

Cannon-Brookes says Australia could become “200 per cent renewable” and then export renewable energy and technology to the rest of the world. This new, multi-billion industry would create jobs and also boost the Australian economy.

The 38-year-old tech guru told the ABC’s 7.30 Report he has personal investments in solar plants and solar farms.

He described himself as “very bullish on this as a sector”.

He also pointed out that wind and solar farms are creating far more jobs in Australia than the coal industry.

‘Fair dinkum’ energy grabbed from Scott Morrison

Cannon-Brookes made his fortune from the hugely successful software company Atlassian. He turned his attention to renewable energy when he heard Prime Minister Scott Morrison calling for “fair dinkum power”.

Fair dinkum energy is solar not coal says billionaire, Mike Cannon-Brookes

Australia could be a renewable energy super power according to tech billionaire Mike Cannon-Brookes. Image: ABC TV

He then sent a furious tweet back as a “rallying cry” for Australians who believe in sun, wind and wave power.

The Prime Minister wants to stop electricity retailers’ price gouging, using coal-fired power as part of the mix.

Cannon-Brookes wants Australia to become a “renewable energy super power” using 100 per cent clean energy, then exporting smart technology.

Facts on solar jobs and spiralling solar investment

According to Cannon-Brookes, his own fair dinkum energy campaign aims to raise awareness of energy issues and solutions. He said if people understand what’s at stake, then they can take control of their own clean energy future.

In addition, he said the controversial carbon price should be reintroduced. The government should also stop subsidising ageing fossil fuels plants like coal-fired power stations according to Cannon-Brookes.

He claims the beleaguered Adani coal generator in NSW would create around 1,500 jobs. He compared this with more than 35,000 Queensland solar and wind jobs both existing and planned.

Retraining programs should therefore be set up to help workers transition from older style energy jobs to renewable roles he says.

Huge investment in Australian solar energy leads way

Cannon-Brookes told the 7.30 Report he was not alone in his advocacy for solar power.

Enormous investment is happening in Australian solar installations he said. Australia now has a total of 1.85 million rooftop solar installations, according to the Clean Energy Regulator.

Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) figures also show full-time renewable energy sector jobs leapt 33 per cent in 2016-17 over the previous year.