Special Workshop at the Energy Efficiency in Local Government Conference: How to Make the Switch to LED’s

Alexi Lynch

The Energy Efficiency in Local Government conference in Sydney is fast approaching and if you haven’t got the 16th-17th September dates locked in your calendar already then lock it in, get your tickets and head along! The conference is a beauty, with the range of speakers from leading councils trumping other conferences from the last few years. 

There are a bunch of special workshops being delivered around the conference, including a day-long session on how Australian councils can make the switch to LED street lighting. This isn’t a theoretical workshop. It’s not a discussion on what “could happen” if all the ducks are lined up. It’s a hands-on workshop that will go through the nuts and bolts of overcoming the perceived barriers to making these projects work, based on the iconic Light Years Ahead LED project in Western Sydney

The Energy Efficient Street Lighting Revolution

As most local government people would be aware, street lighting is the single largest source of greenhouse gas emissions from councils, typically accounting for 30 to 60 per cent of their greenhouse gas emissions.

What's more, the vast majority of Australia's 2.3 million street lights are old and inefficient, and a change to widely accepted energy efficient technologies can save councils nearly 80% in energy costs. Given the financial and environmental savings that are possible, it's not surprising that Australian councils have long sought to implement “bulk changeovers” of their street lights and reap the savings. 

Traditionally this has been a challenging project to get right. In 2011 the National Strategy on Energy Efficiency on Street Lighting collated information on barriers to improving street lighting energy efficiency in Australia via a nation-wide survey. There was a strong response to the survey with over 200 organisations responding and it demonstrated that Australian councils have faced numerous challenges in installing new energy efficient street lights - primarily around the high capital costs, lack of expertise and relationships with Distribution Network Service Providers (DNSPs) who own the lights, poles and wires.

Learn How Light Years Ahead Overcame the Barriers

However, the traditional barriers that councils faced have been overcome in many jurisdictions. Indeed, throughout Australia there is somewhat of an energy efficiency revolution occurring with local governments installing energy efficient street lighting such as LEDs to replace old inefficient and expensive technology. Lights are being changed over in their hundreds of thousands and it’s only been in the last few years that these projects have exploded into the mainstream and the barriers have been overcome. 

One of the largest LED projects in Australian history has just begun in Western Sydney with the Light Years Ahead LED project bringing together 9 councils to change over 13,000 old inefficient street lights to modern and efficient LEDs.

The project is a first for NSW as it’s the first time councils have worked together to plan for and implement an accelerated LED project or bulk changeover of lights. It’s clear that the Light Years Ahead program is the new gold standard for other NSW councils (and especially for any within the Endeavour Energy Distribution area) and in line with best-practice models in other states, where the old inefficient lights come down as soon as possible to be replaced with more efficient technology. The reason is pretty straight forward – the new lights are so much more efficient and the electricity savings are enormous. In fact, the old 80W mercury vapour street lights throughout Western Sydney and most of Australia cost 437% more in electricity compared to the new LEDs. Yep, 437% more. 

The capital cost barrier, the expertise barrier and the relationships barrier have been overcome and Light Years Ahead will demonstrate what is possible at the pre-conference workshop on Tuesday 15th September.

If your council is sick of hearing about the usual “barriers” and you’re interested in changing over your street lights and implementing your council’s greatest energy efficiency project then this is the workshop you should be attending. 

The workshop will be facilitated by Michelle Playford, Project Manager at WSROC and she will be joined by Australia’s foremost street lighting expert, Paul Brown, Managing Director and Founder of Ironbark Sustainability.

Hear how to get these projects implemented; how to build robust business cases; how to build the right relationships; how to work with the key regulatory players; how to find the right funding and financing; how to benefit from economies of scale; understand the latest technology trends; and how to efficiently and effectively implement these projects from start from finish.