Atlassian co-founder and Aussie billionaire Mike Cannon-Brookes is reportedly in discussions with controversial Tesla founder Elon Musk, with the pair plotting alternative solutions to Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s gas power plans.
The latest furore follows the Prime Minister’s announcement earlier this week that he would back a new gas-fired power station in New South Wales, in a bid to fuel economic recovery after the COVID-19 crisis.
“As we turn to our economic recovery from COVID-19, affordable gas will play a central role in re-establishing the strong economy we need for jobs growth, funding government services and opportunities for all,” Morrison said.
His comments attracted criticism from renewable energy advocates, including Cannon-Brookes, who took to Twitter to question whether gas was really the best, and most economical, option here.
While quoting the Prime Minister’s own words back at him, Cannon-Brookes seemed to suggest the government consider different technologies that could deliver the same results.
“I’m interested in stuff that works. I’m interested in stuff that gets done. I’m interested in working with people who want to do both of those things.”
So your Newcastle generator doesn’t _require_ gas?
I’m practical. I’m just confirming before I waste my time.
— Mike Cannon-Brookes 👨🏼💻🧢 (@mcannonbrookes) September 15, 2020
“All we’re asking for is, let us know what you’re trying to solve,” Cannon-Brookes told ABC’s RN Breakfast.
“You need a quote by April? Tell us what you need,” he said.
“Don’t dictate that the technology solution is gas.”
Now, the Aussie tech stalwart has apparently reached out to Musk to discuss what kind of alternatives might be available, and better suited to the project, seemingly preparing to take the challenge to the Prime Minister.
Morrison’s plans will “drive up the energy prices for consumers and businesses, not drive them down,” Cannon-Brookes told the ABC.
“I talked to Elon overnight … there’s a lot of other solutions.”
This isn’t the first time Cannon-Brookes and Musk have joined forces to bring renewable energy solutions to Australian shores.
Back in 2017, Cannon-Brookes challenged Musk to put his money where his mouth was when he boasted Tesla’s battery — which he said could relieve South Australia’s energy issues — would be installed within 100 days of signing the paperwork.
Musk said he would get the system installed and up and running in time, “or it is free”.
And, of course, he made good on his claims, with Cannon-Brookes conceding he has “never been more happy to lose a bet”.