Nation’s top billionaires invest in Qld project
Tech billionaires Mike Cannon Brookes and Scott Farquhar have emerged as backers of renewable developer Genex Power.
The co-founders of Atlassian have separately ploughed money into Genex's $115m capital raising, helping fund the 250 megawatt Kidston hydro project in far-north Queensland, west of Townsville.
Mr Cannon-Brookes provided funding through his investment vehicle Grok Ventures in partnership with wife Annie while Mr Farquhar's commitment came through investment fund Skip Capital, headed up by his wife Kim Jackson. Genex declined to comment.
Mr Cannon-Brookes has become an increasingly influential player in renewable energy, joining Andrew 'Twiggy' Forrest as a backer of a $22bn solar farm that aims to export electricity from the Northern Territory to Singapore by sub-sea cable.
A funding deal by the tech baron and iron ore mogul will pave the way for development of the power project which aims to send 10 gigawatts of power from the world's largest solar farm near Tennant Creek to Darwin and then Singapore via a 4500km high-voltage direct current cable.
Genex's Kidston renewable energy hub in far-north Queensland includes a 50MW solar farm, 250 MW hydro project, a further 270MW solar development and a 150MW wind farm.
Mr Cannon-Brookes has hailed the power of divesting from fossil fuels and rejected an argument made by Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates that climate activists were wasting their time lobbying investors over the issue.
Australia could create a million new jobs through backing renewable energy with new transmission lines and the creation of a new manufacturing industry, a think tank backed by Mr Cannon Brookes has said.
The plan is based on building 90 gigawatts of solar and wind energy and harvesting that through the economy. It argues 10 new transmission lines connecting renewable energy projects in regions like the Pilbarra and Northern Territory could create thousands of new jobs.
Mr Cannon-Brookes and Mr Farquhar, both 41, were recently named in The Australian's publication The List, which ranks the 250 wealthiest people in the country.
Mr Cannon-Brookes was ranked number 3 on the list with an estimated wealth of $21.99bn and Mr Farquhar at number 4 with $21.95 billion.
Originally published as Nation's top billionaires invest in Qld project