I thought the letter to the editor by Charles F. Heimerdinger published Feb. 19 was dead-on accurate. Essentially, he did his research into investing into a personal solar-powered photovoltaic system and found that even with the lavish incentives being handed out by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority and the Department of Energy, his personal investment simply was money not well spent. Some would argue they make a statement by investing in technologies that could not make it on their own merit at this point in time. In absence of an overall energy policy, these incentives alone end up being money wasted. We have seen federal incentives on solar dating back to the administration of former President Jimmy Carter, and NYSERDA has worked on the fringe for many years. When will these technologies stand on their own merit?
Frankly, all aspects of government have done a poor job picking winners and losers in emerging technologies. We all pay for this play in taxes and in the rates we pay to the government-regulated monopolies we call our utilities.
Charles ends his article on a note that elimination of the funds should be considered by the Public Service Commission, the Legislature and the governor. I'm not so optimistic that we can see this kind of reform behavior from the breed of politician that is more interested in taking care of "their kind" rather than the interest and well being of this state and its citizens.
Who heads our authorities? Are they the most qualified people to lead? Appointments seem far more political than practical. One might want to use the Freedom of Information Act to see how many of the PV system components paid for in part by NYSERDA were manufactured in China or Spain. Perhaps NYSERDA should be renamed the International Research and Development Authority. Your government seems to be very good at promoting the movement of your jobs overseas. Certainly, any comprehensive energy policy must consider all the consequences.