Australian tech billionaire to chair $20 billion solar power export project

1 min read
Annie Cannon-Brookes and Mike Cannon-Brookes, chief executive officer of Atlassian, attend the annual Allen and Co. Sun Valley media conference in Sun Valley, Idaho

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australian software mogul Mike Cannon-Brookes was named chairman on Friday of clean energy start-up Sun Cable, which is seeking to secure funds for a proposed A$30 billion-plus ($19.3 billion-plus) solar power export project.

Singapore-based Sun Cable plans to supply solar power from Australia to Singapore and eventually Indonesia through the world’s longest subsea high voltage cable, linked to a 17-20 gigawatt solar farm, as well as an energy storage facility of up to 42 GWh in Australia’s Northern Territory.

Cannon-Brookes, co-founder of project management software maker Atlassian and an investor in Sun Cable since 2019, said he was “thrilled” to take up the role at the company, which is yet to break ground on the planned 4,200-km (2,600-mile) undersea cable.

“Australia can and should be a global leader in clean energy exports. Sun Cable is at the forefront of making Australia a renewable energy superpower,” Cannon-Brookes said in a statement.

Sun Cable Chief Executive David Griffin pointed to Cannon-Brookes’ experience in “rapidly building business to a global scale.”

The project, also backed by iron ore magnate and Fortescue Metals founder Andrew Forrest, received an “investment ready” tick in June from Infrastructure Australia, an independent body tasked with evaluating infrastructure projects.

Construction is planned to start in 2024 with full operations commencing in 2029.

Breaking News:  Hong Kong's Cardinal Zen among six fined over fund for protesters

Capital raising for the project is underway after Sun Cable appointed Macquarie Capital, Moelis & Co and MA Financial Group as financial advisers in July, with the target of wrapping up in early 2024.

Cannon-Brookes’ environmental activism is making waves in corporate Australia, most recently through his attempt earlier this year to buy AGL, Australia’s largest electricity generator, and accelerate the closure of AGL’s coal-fired power plants by a decade.

($1 = 1.5567 Australian dollars)

(This story has been corrected to fix distance of cable in third paragraph to 4,200km)

(Reporting by Lewis Jackson; editing by Richard Pullin)

tagreuters.com2022binary_LYNXMPEI9605U-BASEIMAGE