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Let’s invest in the future

May 15, 2013

[Editor’s note: The following letter was sent to Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther and State Representative John Bonacic.}

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority has issued notification of Program Opportunity Notice (PON) 2700. NYSERDA is proposing to give $7.8 million to chosen retailers who successfully increase sales of Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs (CFL) beyond a base-line level.

This is, in our opinion, an extraordinary misuse of funds which could be better spent on proven energy reduction programs such as deep energy retrofits of existing buildings or the installation of photovoltaic systems to produce electricity on the homes of our New York residents. (And if the program focused on utilizing solar panels made in New York, that would be even better!)

While it is true that CFLs reduce energy consumption when compared to incandescent light bulbs, they also create a hazardous waste product at the end of their life and they do little to improve the economy of the United States in general, and New York State in particular, because they are not manufactured here.

Much better technology is readily available. Light Emitting Diode (LED) light bulbs offer a much greater savings of energy for our lighting needs. LEDs are completely recyclable at the end of their 50,000 hour life. They contain no hazardous chemicals or heavy metals. Plus, there are LED companies manufacturing LEDs right here in the Empire State. I do note that buried within the PON is an isolated opportunity to include LED IF there is a demand for this.

PON 2700 is woefully misguided and I ask you to use your influence to stop this NYSERDA initiative. We cannot afford to give $7.8 million dollars to retailers to minimally reduce energy consumption. There are better and more effective opportunities to reduce energy consumption which will greatly benefit New York States citizens. For example, $7.8 million could be used to purchase 780,000 LED bulbs to distribute to NY households, or incentivize 928 6kW residential photovoltaic systems through NYSERDA, or assist with deep energy retrofits for New York’s aging stock of homes. Any of these measures would provide for long-term energy savings, not simply the anticipated five-year time frame, which is the expected life of a CFL.

Sullivan Alliance for Sustainable Development (SASD) would welcome the opportunity to discuss this with you in depth, and help craft a more effective energy saving initiative for New Yorkers.

Stephen Stuart, Co-Executive Director
Sullivan Alliance for Sustainable Development
Monticello, NY