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Councils to Save on Street Lighting Costs

The installation of energy efficient street lighting in seven Northern Inland council areas could save in excess of $200,000 per annum, and offset Essential Energy plans to increase street light maintenance charges.

The Northern Lights Project run by Regional Development Australia–Northern Inland (RDANI) has received over $500,000 funding from the Australian Government.  It involves the installation of new street lights, and the employment of an Education Officer to assist households and businesses to reduce their electricity costs.

Funding will assist with the capital cost of installing around 4,700 new energy efficient street lights in the Armidale Dumaresq, Guyra, Walcha, Glenn Innes Severn, Inverell, Tenterfield and Gwydir council areas.  The new lights will produce considerable energy savings for each council, and help offset proposed increases in street light maintenance costs announced by Essential Energy in May which would amount to around $153,000 for the seven councils.

David Thompson from RDANI is overseeing the project and stated that the choice of the type of street light to be installed is critical to the energy cost saving achieved.

“We having been working with Essential Energy on a plan to have LED lights installed, rather than Compact Fluorescents.  A good quality LED will save councils significantly more money through lower energy and maintenance costs” he said.

LED lights are cutting edge in lighting technology, not only reducing electricity use but also producing a better quality of light which improves public safety.  Numerous European and Asian countries are rolling out LED street lights, as is the Sydney City Council. Essential Energy sister company Ausgrid are also replacing any blown older-style lights with LEDs in their Sydney jurisdictions.

“We have around 4,400 older 50 and 80 watt mercury vapour lights in the seven council areas that are due to be changed and these can readily be replaced with 22-26 watt LEDs.  I have calculated that the resulting energy cost saving would more than offset the proposed light maintenance cost increases. The capital cost of these lights is expected to be higher than Compact Fluorescent luminaires, but this is offset by lower energy and maintenance costs” said Mr Thompson.

The project represents a true example of collaboration between the three tiers of government – Commonwealth, State and local - and is believed to be one of the first major roll-outs of LED street lighting in regional Australia.

Mr Thompson said “Our job at RDANI is to foster regional economic development. Reducing business, council and household energy costs is one practical step in achieving that goal”.

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