LED street lighting would reduce costs, kilowatts and blackouts


Friday, 10 February, 2017

Interstate 1149592

With the government currently clambering to reduce power consumption in the wake of the heatwave currently sweeping across Australia, the Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia (IPWEA) has recommended a long-term, energy-saving strategy that it says would be extremely effective: replacing all Australian streetlights with LED technology.

Just under half of Australian streetlights are currently mercury vapour — an obsolete and inefficient lighting technology invented in the 1930s — while only about 9.5% of Australia’s streetlights have been converted to LED technology. The IPWEA’s Street Lighting and Smart Controls (SLSC) Roadmap has found that replacing Australia’s remaining lighting could cut streetlighting energy consumption by 50% and streetlighting costs for councils by 25%. That’s a saving of $100 million per year across the country.

“A lot of our energy consumption at present is needlessly wasteful, and street lighting is a leading example,” said IPWEA CEO Robert Fuller.

“The federal and state governments should commit to fund the widespread rollout of LED street lighting with smart control across all councils. Australia would not only dramatically reduce power consumption from measures like this but start to introduce controllable loads to the electricity grid.

“Smart controls on streetlights and many other types of smart city infrastructure could be called on at times of peak demand to intelligently cut consumption,” said Fuller. This means that in peak load periods, like NSW is about to experience, streetlights could be dimmed to as low as 25% of their power and still provide an acceptable level of community safety and security.

“This would give us a buffer to ensure that essential electricity supply remains stable and available through a crisis,” said Fuller. “Such measures would help us keep air conditioning on, businesses open and avoid rolling blackouts.”

IPWEA’s 3rd International Street Lighting and Smart Controls Conference, to be held in Brisbane from 14–17 March, will bring experts from the US, the UK and beyond to demonstrate how cities such as LA have managed large-scale LED and smart control rollouts. For more information on the event, visit http://streetlightingconference.com.au/.

Image courtesy of Unsplash under CC0

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