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“He deserves to serve on the council,” Troy Councilman Ken Zalewski gives candidate Russell Ziemba his full support.

Photo: Chet Hardin

Running on H20

Troy City Council candidate wants to invest in a renewable future

Russell Ziemba, candidate for City Council in Troy’s 3rd District, said that he wants to see the city better utilize one of its abundant natural resources. “There is untapped hydropower potential in Troy that we need to look into using,” Ziemba said, gesturing to the stream 100 feet away from him, running alongside Route 2. “We are looking at tax hikes everywhere, and we shouldn’t be throwing money away.”

At Ziemba’s press conference, which was held at Empire Solar in Troy, he pointed out that there are five spots in Troy, along the Poestenkill and the Hudson, where power could be drawn from the flow of water. Troy’s neighbor across the Hudson, Green Island, Ziemba said, has leveraged the river’s consistent supply of latent energy for decades, “and we should be able to as well.”

Ziemba pointed to the fact that there is likely money available to the city, through state and federal means, to invest in an infrastructure based on hydropower. It’s a point that Rodney Wiltshire, the owner of Empire Solar and president of Rensselaer County Young Democrats, also made. In his “45 by 15” plan, Gov. David Paterson has laid out the objective of meeting 45 percent of the state’s electricity needs through efficient, clean and renewable energy sources by 2015.

Ziemba said that he wants the city to invest not only in hydropower, but in solar power as well. “Most of the buildings downtown have roofs that can be used to harvest solar power,” he said. He also suggested that the city undertake energy audits of all its municipal buildings.

Ziemba is running on the Green and Working Families Party lines against Democrat Rick Hoffmeister and Republican Dean Bodnar for the seat. The incumbent, Democrat Peter Ryan, is running for the county Legislature race.

Ziemba was joined at his press conference by Troy City councilman Ken Zalewski, a Democrat who is backing Ziemba—and not the Democrat—in the race.

“We should feel obligated to find a smart plan for renewable resources,” Ziemba said.

—Chet Hardin

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