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New LED Street Lights on the way for the Northern Inland

Seven Northern Inland councils have now accepted offers from Essential Energy to upgrade their street lighting to the latest LED technology under Regional Development Australia’s Northern Lights Project. The lights will be progressively rolled out in the second half of this year across Armidale Dumaresq, Guyra, Glen Innes Severn, Tenterfield, Inverell, Gwydir and Walcha Shire Local Government Areas.

Developed and administered by RDANI, the Northern Lights project received $576,000 of funding from the Australian Government to assist councils with the capital cost of the new lights.

The project, – the first broad scale rollout of LED technology in regional NSW, is also a trial by Essential Energy of two models of LED streetlights to compare reliability and performance. The number of lights to be replaced has been increased from the originally proposed 4,700 to over 5,000 which further improves the return on the funding to the Australian Government. The NSW Office of Environment and Heritage also provided funding for the services of a lighting expert to assist in project development.

LED street lights consume far less energy at around 24 watts each, and will replace existing high-energy lights consuming between 50 and 100 watts.  At current street light energy costs, this will save the seven Councils in excess of $200,000 per year and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by more than 1,000 tonnes per year of CO2 equivalents.

RDANI Chair Russell Stewart noted that the work done by his organisation is exactly the type of collaborative project that Regional Development Australia Committees should be brokering. “This was a complex project requiring lengthy negotiations with Essential Energy to bring the new technology to our region, as well as coordinating Commonwealth, State and seven local government agencies” he said.  “As a result, towns in our region will soon be on par with the likes of Sydney, Melbourne, Los Angeles, Seattle and London in adopting the latest lighting developments”.

Federal Member for New England Barnaby Joyce said the project was a good example of the synergies which are possible between the various levels of government, and that nurturing this type of collaboration was precisely the role which the Australian Government had envisaged for Regional Development Australia Committees. “Not only will this project save councils money which they can redirect to other services, this is also another example of regional Australia embracing new technology for the greater good”.

Installation of the new lights is set to commence in July 2015. RDANI will conduct a letterbox drop of residents in June informing them about the project and the upgrades.

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