In a short video interview available on the IRENA website, Puna said: “I guess I was lucky. Before I became prime minister I was living in a remote island where it was difficult to get the diesel to fire up the generators.”
“And more often than not, we would go for days without power or ration power. So I started looking around, there was plenty of sunshine there.
“I did some research on the internet and I became familiar with solar energy and I said to myself. ‘look here is the answer for my country’, particularly for the isolated islands.”
Puna who is from Manihiki, is currently in the United Arab Emirates attending the IREA, an intergovernmental organisation that supports countries in their transition to a sustainable energy future.
Also in attendance was the Office of the Prime Minister’s chief of staff Ben Ponia.
More than 1200 participants from 160 countries, international organisations, private sector and civil society are engaged at the high-level discussions to accelerate renewable energy deployment in support of the sustainable development goals (SDGs) and global climate objectives.
The 9th IRENA Assembly hosted several key discussions on critical issues related to the advancement of renewable energy, including two ministerial roundtables on “Catalysing Off-Grid Renewable Energy Deployment Towards Universal Electricity Access” and on the “Transformative Impact of Innovation in the Renewable Energy Sector”.
Around 125 heads of states and governments and ministers were engaged at this year’s event, making it the largest number of ministerial level participants the agency has ever had.