As we continue to partner with organizations, locally regionally and internationally, we continue also said Prime Minister Puna to look for opportunities to partner with likeminded people. For this reason it was a pleasure to meet with the likes of Andy Krasner, board member for Nia Tero, director of the Google X laboratory and former US deputy secretary for energy.

The Nia Tero board itself, is led by Peter Seligmann, founder of Conservation International who works closely with the Emmerson Collective; an organization funded by Lauren Jobs from the Apple company.

These meetings position ourselves as a country, prepared to reap the benefits of not only the building and strengthening of these relationships but more the mutual benefit that can be afforded our country by building trust and reciprocity said Puna as they returned last week from a very productive meeting in Silicon Valley California.

At Google X laboratories we were able to see the latest technology for self-driving electric vehicles and 3-D printing, which offer interesting prospects for the Cook Islands.

Planet X said OPM Chief of Staff Ben Ponia, has deployed the largest constellation of satellites that photograph a mosaic of the globe daily and the delegation was shown daily formation of algal blooms occurring at Muri lagoon as well as surveillance images of fishing vessels in our EEZ.

Anything said Ponia, that can assist us with further protecting and watching of such a large EEZ is of benefit to us and coupled with this, is the rate of speed technology is moving, so to be able to potentially partner with companies such as Google, and technologists and entrepreneurs from Silicon Valley was a wonderful opportunity for the Cook Islands.

Nia Tero are also aware that the Cook Islands has been one of the leaders in responding to Climate Change in our region and of quickly developing a low-carbon footprint economy, through its ambitious target to achieve 100% renewable energy by 2020. For this reason a Nia Tero energy expert will be visiting the Cook Islands in March to see how we have been able to achieve this.

A number of the company CEOs presented on projects and technologies with exciting opportunities ahead said Ponia, including Saildrones, solar powered ocean drones that could monitor acidification of our ocean,  Flywire, supplying cameras onboard fishing vessels for monitoring commercial and local catches, Open RoV, underwater drones which can be easily deployed and manipulated by smart phone for lagoon monitoring or pearl farm monitoring and a potential tool school for children to explore what lies beneath the ocean from the classroom.

Prime Minister Puna and Ben Ponia were making their way back from the IRENA Climate Change Conference and were invited by Nia Tero along with Marae Moana Ambassador Kevin Iro to visit Silicon Valley after the hosting of the Nia Tero board meeting in Aitutaki late 2018.

The delegation also met the Tesla company whom are currently installing an 11 Megawatt Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) for renewable energy shifting on Rarotonga and wish to introduce a study tour of the GigaWatt factory in the US and to a power utility in Kauai, in Hawai’i who have undergone a major transformation from fossil fuel to renewable energy generation, reducing tariffs and improving supply at the same time.  

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