The whiz-bang new energy technologies of the future, which will light our Island more inexpensively and reliably, will likely emerge from an advanced energy center in a hyper-green building soon to open at Stony Brook University. The building is paid for, but not the staffing - until now. The New York Power Authority will provide first-year operating funds. But a future funding stream is still needed.
The home for the Advanced Energy Research & Technology Center opens this year, although its researchers have already been working elsewhere on campus on better ways to produce, store and distribute energy. The NYPA money will help hire central staff, develop a business plan and reach out for research funds. In short, it's a wise investment by NYPA, which will almost certainly benefit from the center's research.
For future funding, one approach would be for the State Legislature to designate it as a seventh center of excellence, like the Center of Excellence in Wireless and Information Technology, housed in a building next to the site of the energy center. That would let it tap into a $6-million-plus state fund. But that legislation is stalled in Albany.
The new center will also house the New York Energy Policy Institute. And it's been designated a federal energy frontier research center, to work on better batteries. So its work is crucial and its position pivotal. But a reliable funding source must be found to keep it humming energetically. hN