Bright energy future for Long Island

Very good news for Long Island’s clean energy future arrived as Newsday reported that island-wide peak electric demand has stopped growing and is projected to grow slowly for years [“Plenty of power,” News, March 4]. This shows that utility programs and state incentives, stricter building codes and lower costs have spawned significant improvements in efficiency and tens of thousands of solar systems on Long Island.

It also proves that New York State’s Clean Energy Standard mandate to provide at least 50 percent of our electric needs from renewable sources by 2030 is achievable.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s Reforming the Energy Vision plan is a bold move to replace outdated fossil-fuel power production with distributed energy efficiency and renewable technologies. The governor’s commitment, along with the Long Island Power Authority’s recent decision to contract for offshore wind power, signals that we have a bright, clean energy future.

Gordian Raacke, East Hampton

Editor’s note: The writer is the executive director of Renewable Energy Long Island, a nonprofit advocacy organization.

Town won plaudits for transparency

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Newsday’s March 21 news story “Press Club: Entities fail on transparency” concentrated only on the negative findings of a commendable Press Club of Long Island study into records policies among local governments.

The story failed to note that four towns — including Huntington — two villages, Nassau Community College and six Suffolk County departments received A-plus ratings. The report said Huntington had the most proactive Freedom of Information Law process of the 13 Long Island towns and gave Huntington extra credit for its helpfulness.

We have striven to increase transparency in government operations, including making videos of town board, planning board and zoning board meetings available online, indexed to agendas for easy searching. Many public records are also available on the town website.

A.J. Carter, Huntington

Editor’s note: The writer is the town’s public information officer.

Not even a flicker during big storms

When we moved to Eatons Neck in 1999, every minor storm brought power outages [“Snow? No! Big mess? Yes!,” News, March 15].

Everyone in our neighborhood used home power generators. It was a real nuisance that the Long Island Power Authority did nothing about.

After superstorm Sandy, most of us used our generators for an entire week.

Enter PSEG Long Island. It has been proactive by trimming the trees to clear power lines.

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This winter, we’ve had three major storms. The power has never even flickered. My generator has never been used. Thank you, PSEG.

J. Anthony Winger, Eaton’s Neck

‘Free’ SUNY tuition will hurt private colleges

The focus on college affordability at the state level is a welcome development. However, while “free” tuition at our public institutions makes for an effective sound bite, it doesn’t make for sound public policy [“Budget deal or no deal?” News, March 29].

A better approach to helping all students would be to expand the state Tuition Assistance Program, which has succeeded by allowing students to use this state financial aid at the college that best meets their needs, private or public.

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Today, more students are enrolled at the state’s private, not-for-profit institutions than at either of its public university systems. Private colleges serve a diverse population by providing $5.1 billion a year in financial assistance from their own resources, helping to ensure affordability. Private colleges are economic engines in their communities. On Long Island, they are responsible for 20,700 jobs and $3.4 billion a year in economic activity. Giving students the option of going to SUNY and CUNY for “free” at taxpayer expense would make it impossible for many private schools to compete.

A recent Georgetown University study concluded that “free” tuition for those making $125,000 could cause private, not-for-profit colleges and universities to lose 11 percent of their enrollment.

Mary Beth Labate, Albany

Editor’s note: The writer is the president of the Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities, an advocacy organization.