– says it must be produced with boosting economy in mindWhile there is much talk about renewable energy, former BP Executive, Professor Gary Dirks has reminded that energy must be produced not for its own sake, but to provide reliable power for everyone and to boost economic development.A few members of the Think Tank groupProfessor Dirks, who is the former President of BP Asia-Pacific and China and currently a Director of an institute at Arizona State University, was one of several speakers at the recent University of Guyana (UG) Turkeyen and Tain talks. He noted that oil and gas revenues presented a golden opportunity for Guyana to transform its economy over the long term.“The economy of Guyana must grow… this is an opportunity for Guyana to use these resources. Energy is the lifeblood of any economy, no matter how big or how small it is. But you don’t produce energy for its own sake, you produce it for what it can do.”“In order for an economy to thrive, one of the first things [energy] has to be able to do is be affordable. It has to be reliable to everybody, not a few. And it has to be accessible,” Professor Dirks pointed out.Meanwhile, Dirks also spoke about carbon taxes, a measure used for the purpose of taxing companies with high carbon emissions. This measure and the financial losses it brings is usually intended to deter companies from using fossil fuel and coax them into switching to renewable energy.Former BP Executive Professor Gary Dirks“We’re going to have to push the energy system to net zero emissions, not 100 per cent renewable, as fast as we can. That will not be enough. We will overshoot carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. We will be required to take carbon dioxide back out of the atmosphere.”“That means there’s going to be a price on the carbon, whatever it takes to take it back out of the atmosphere. So carbon taxes are coming. Anybody that’s thinking or planning for energy needs to take that into account.”On Friday, UG launched its Think Tank initiative which will see players from across the country brainstorming to tackle energy-related issues in Guyana.At the launch at the Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown Campus, it was explained that the major focus of the group will be on how Guyana, which is becoming a major oil and gas producer, can maintain its pristine environment, energy sustainability and more importantly making Guyana a model energy country.Think Tank will bring together a number of players from Guyana, both in academics as well as industry experts, to “think” about the energy problems of the energy future here. Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the tertiary institution, Dr Paloma Mohamed said that the challenge this group has taken on is no easy task.Five of the main persons who form part of the group are Verlyn Klass; Former Dean of the University, Thomas Singh; Former Head of Department of Chemistry, Patrick Ketwaroo; Head of Department of Mechanical Engineering, Vishal Persaud and Dean Calvin Bernard.