Why Australia needs to be a renewable energy superpower – The Sydney Morning Herald

In energy, Australians are already world beaters who have voted with their … roofs. Today, about five million Australians sleep under a roof with solar panels installed. That’s the highest density per household anywhere in the world.

Then there’s the Hornsdale Power Reserve. You might know it as the “big battery” in South Australia. We are showing the world how it’s done – this battery is three times larger than any other lithium ion battery ever created. Far from the “Big Banana”, as politicians branded it, it’s on track to pay for itself within three years and, more importantly, it’s helping bring down energy bills across South Australia while everybody else’s around the country are growing.

The Hornsdale mega battery.

The Hornsdale mega battery.

A lack of strong, consistent policy and vision from our political leaders over the past decade is one of the major reasons for expensive power bills. Our Prime Minister, who not so long ago sat in  Parliament waving a lump of coal at the opposition, has defined “fair dinkum power” as energy that turns on when the sun isn’t shining and the wind isn’t blowing. I’m one of thousands of Aussies joining together to redefine the term to mean clean, cheap and reliable renewable energy.

Australia exports $27 billion of coal each year. No one would argue that coal hasn’t been an important industry for our economy. But the world is changing around us and the coal industry’s future is not bright. We haven’t built a coal plant in Australia since Kogan Creek in 2007 because it just doesn’t make economic sense. Instead, we’ve added gigawatts of wind and solar projects, quite simply because they’re cheaper.

Let’s look at the same topic from another angle – job creation. The construction of the Adani mine was estimated to create about 1500 jobs (a number that I suspect has dwindled since the project has been scaled back). In contrast, renewable projects that are planned and under construction in Queensland alone have created more than 35,000 jobs. The maths stacks up.

So, my request to you, Australia, is to visit www.fairdinkumpower.com.au, read the manifesto and sign the pledge if you agree with it. Talk to your family and friends about it around the dinner table and make sure your MP knows this will be the biggest issue at the upcoming federal election.

If you can, join the occupants of two million Australian households who reduce their power bills with economical rooftop solar. We have an incredible opportunity to produce clean, cheap and reliable power that we can take to the world. But we need to lean into this vision together and make it happen. The prosperity and health of our future generations depend on it.

Mike Cannon-Brookes is the co-CEO and co-founder of Australian software company Atlassian.

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