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‘He’s dreaming’: Mike Cannon-Brookes and coal baron Trevor St Baker clash over renewables

Mr Cannon-Brookes’ net worth is estimated at $18 billion, mainly due to his stake in software giant Atlassian. His personal investment vehicle Grok Ventures has deployed over $1 billion into a range of investments, including renewables-themed startups such as solar energy distributor Sun Cable, transportation electrification company WeaveGrid and energy payment platform Brighte.

Mr Cannon-Brookes said “sustainability-related” investments made up more than two-thirds of his $1 billion investment portfolio.

Mr St Baker’s renewables investments include a 30 per cent equity investment in electric vehicle charger Tritium, full ownership of Evie Networks, which is developing a chain of electric vehicles chargers, and a 50 per cent equity investment in PURE-EV, which is rolling out battery-powered trikes for public transport in the Philippines.

“I’m not really the coal baron that I get called by the renewables lobby, I’m investing more than anyone in Australia directly into renewables, into this transition, mainly through the transport sector and through battery investments,” he said in the interview last week.

Earlier on Twitter, Mr Cannon-Brookes challenged Mr St Baker to a $10,000 bet over his claim to be investing more than anyone else in the country into renewables.

Mr Cannon-Brookes also criticised Mr St Baker’s assertion Australia would need to turn to nuclear power if it wanted to get rid of its coal-fired power plants because solar and wind power were not sufficient.

“I believe Australia will rely on renewables without building any new coal, gas or nuclear plants … within the lifetime of existing ones,” Mr Cannon-Brookes said. “And that movement [towards renewables] will greatly curtail those lifetimes too.

“By 2025, the grid can support 75 per cent renewables and our cheapest path to and beyond 100 per cent has less gas than today,” he said, referring to data from the Australian Energy Market Operator.

Mr St Baker has nominated the St Vincent de Paul’s women’s homelessness charity if Mr Cannon-Brookes could show another individual in Australia had invested more than him in renewables.

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