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  • Writer's pictureBy The Financial District

Aussie Billionaires' Solar Spat Enters New Phase

The battle between two of Australia’s richest men for control of bankrupt renewables startup Sun Cable has ended in a whimper.


Photo Insert: Cannon-Brookes and new ally Quinbrook Infrastructure Partners are now in charge of finding the $20 billion or more needed to develop Sun Cable.



On Friday, Mike Cannon-Brookes, co-chief of technology company Atlassian, won the auction for the firm via his Grok Ventures fund, bidding less than A$100 million ($65 million) per an estimate by the Australian Financial Review, Antony Currie wrote Reuters Breakingviews.


Surprisingly absent from the final bout was Squadron Energy, one of Fortescue Metals (FMG.AX) founder Andrew Forrest’s investment companies. Both were early investors in Sun Cable; their spat over its strategy plunged the firm into administration in January.



The prize is the fledgling firm’s permit to build a 20-gigawatt solar farm with up to 42-gigawatt hours of battery storage in Australia’s Northern Territory. Cannon-Brookes wants to stick to the original plan of sending most of the energy it produces to Singapore via an undersea cable.


Forrest, who on Friday repeated that he had become “unconvinced of the commercial viability” of that plan, would prefer to export energy using green hydrogen and green ammonia.


All the news: Business man in suit and tie smiling and reading a newspaper near the financial district.

He’s backing out, he says, to concentrate on developing Squadron’s 20GW of renewables projects.


That leaves Cannon-Brookes and new ally Quinbrook Infrastructure Partners in charge of finding the $20 billion or more needed to develop Sun Cable. Now the race is on to see which of the two men is first to flick the on switch.





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