Troy council passes energy sustainability measures

Posted at: 11/01/2012 11:18 PM
Updated at: 11/02/2012 10:21 AM
By: Dan Levy

TROY - The City of Troy on Thursday night took a significant step toward a more energy efficient future when the city council unanimously voted to incorporate Climate Smart Practices throughout the Collar City.

Even though it was just a coincidence that Hurricane Sandy struck only a few days before the vote, the vote would have taken place regardless, but supporters are hopeful the storm will help raise everyone's awareness of what's happening around them.

As an at-large member of the Troy City Council, Rodney Wiltshire sees it as part of his sworn duty to pass the Climate Smart Initiative because he thinks it'll help reduce taxes and make Troy a more livable city, everything based on a simple -- although to some people -- a controversial premise.

"I firmly believe that climate change is real and that it is happening," Wiltshire states.

The first part of the initiative would convert Troy's landfill, which closed in 1995, into a solar energy farm, a move that Wiltshire says will save the city $10,000 the first year, and then grow exponentially from there.

"The city currently pays over $1.5 million a year in electricity costs," Wiltshire says. "At some point we will flip that and we will start saving all of that money and then actually become an energy producer, where we can earn money, revenue the same manner we have with our reservoir."

Troy resident Liz Pohlmann, who spoke in favor of the legislation Thursday night, says it'll take creativity, ingenuity, and a lot of commitment from everyone to reduce the city's carbon footprint, pointing to Hurricane Sandy as a real eye opener.

"I sure hope that this particular wake-up call will result in people reevaluating their own personal habits, their family's habits, and participating in their communities in order to reduce energy usage community-wide," she says.

Part of the initiative also includes a memorandum to the state legislature to uphold a moratorium on Hydro-Fracking and to develop a landowner's bill of rights regarding land use for drilling and disclosing the chemicals and potential dangers associated with them to lessees."

Wiltshire says he has high hopes of receiving a NYSERDA grant that can be used to begin the solar farm.

Also agreed upon Thursday was a start date of next March (2013) for the task force that will oversee implementation of the sustainability initiative.