I was pleased that you printed the letter regarding Long Island and energy independence ["Clean energy, accountability at LIPA," Dec. 5]. There is a vital need to continue this dialogue on energy self-sufficiency and alternative energy technologies, including wind power.
As a Green Choices consultant, member of the Town of Huntington Renewable Energy Task Force, member of the Long Island Geothermal Energy Organization, and owner of a home with both a solar panel array and geothermal heating and cooling system, I applaud the writer for his suggestions. There are some caveats, however.
In general, it is always better to incentivize change rather than legislate it. For this, the Long Island Power Authority should be commended for its "Solar Pioneer" and "Geothermal & GeoColumn" rebate programs.
Also, solar panels are a wonderful way to produce power for the electric grid, especially during peak demand; however the solar cells require direct sunlight for a good part of the day. Many roofs lack the proper orientation to the sun.
Finally, geothermal heating and cooling systems have their own challenges with soil conditions, which vary depending on the location on Long Island. Clay and sandy soils and underground water pose different kinds of difficulties for the geothermal engineer.
My point is that neither solar nor geothermal is right in every situation.