We Were Wrong. 183,000 Lights are not Being Replaced...

Paul Brown
June 2014

... It's now 232,000 lights.

Last year the Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) announced that 183,000 streetlights were in the process of being replaced by energy efficient alternatives throughout the state, saving councils and ratepayers $340 million in reduced electricity and maintenance costs and 1.21 million tonnes of greenhouse emissions. We’ve been working with MAV having being engaged to provide technical support and advice through the MAV Street Lighting Program. We also provided the figures for this press release but since then things have changed.

It’s now actually a little over 232,000 street lights that are being changed to more efficient alternatives. The latest figures are:

  • 82% of all Victorian councils have implemented or are planning on implementing an energy efficient street lighting project. This only including projects that have received funding - in the last 6 months we have developed business cases for 6 more councils who will seek funding in 2014-2015.
  • All 79 Victorian councils have access to the MAV’s standing bulk materials panel for street lights. This panel now includes LEDs and if new lights are approved they will be welcome to join this panel.
  • MAV standing panel has already seen councils save millions of dollars on purchasing lights and thousands of hours of developing and evaluating tenders. 
  • Cumulative financial savings of $431 million through reduced electricity use and maintenance costs 
  • Greenhouse reduction of 1.56 million tonnes.

The size of this program shouldn’t be under-estimated. Cumulatively, it sits at number 2 on the list of the largest energy efficiency street lighting projects in the world. Yes, the world:

To give some context and comparison to these figures, we have to review the old Cities for Climate Protection’s (CCP) annual “Measures Reports”. The Measures Report would essentially aggregate the cumulative council emissions reduction across every council that was a participant in CCP. In the last year of the program in 2008 there were 240 councils participating in CCP covering 84% of the population. Looking back at historical data from the final 2006-2007 financial year the cumulative corporate (or internal council operations) emissions reduction across the whole country in that year was 569,859 tonnes of abatement.

Or to conceptualise these numbers this is equivalent to taking 356,978 Australian cars off the road for a year, or lighting 2,046,675 average Australian homes for a year. It’s an extraordinary feat.

What’s more, Victoria is also light years ahead with the level of contestability, as it’s the only state where councils have successfully implemented changeovers through fully contestable tenders for every step of a bulk changeover – materials (the lights themselves), labour (installers) and even the project management of the installation.

LED or T5 or CFL – Technology Breakdown

At the time of writing the breakdown of lights being installed (or planned to be installed) was roughly 38% T5s, 30% LEDs and 6% CFLs. Many of the T5s and CFLs have already been installed including some over the last few years.

This is an estimate based on lights currently installed and the proposed technology options of each council, however this may of course change especially those who won't make technology purchasing decisions until 2015 and 2016.

It's interesting to note that another 27% are still yet to decide on their technology choice. Ironbark have been working with many of these councils over the last 12 months in developing updated business cases to reflect new technologies and new prices.

Whichever way you look at it, these are an impressive set of numbers and Victorian councils should be congratulated.

This is truly record-breaking action.