LED upgrades have cut Sydney’s lighting costs by over 25 per cent.

6 August 2013 — The City of Sydney’s LED light upgrades have saved over $300,000 and cut energy use by more than 25 per cent in the past 16 months, Lord Mayor Clover Moore has said.

And the NSW government is following suit, announcing on Monday a grid-wide roll-out of LED lighting across 41 councils, with Energy Minister Chris Hartcher saying it will save councils millions.

The City of Sydney has installed more than 2600 LED lights since March 2012 as part of a three-year roll-out to replace 6448 conventional lights.

“Since beginning our LED roll out in March last year, the City has saved $295,102 in public domain lighting costs, and $33,540 in maintenance fees,” Ms Moore said.

“LED lights have already cut energy consumption by our street and park lights by 27.6 per cent and stopped 1547 tonnes of carbon emissions from going into the atmosphere.

“This saving benefits the City financially, but it also helps make Sydney a cleaner, greener place for all.”

The City is one of the largest users of street lighting in NSW, with 22,000 lights operating in parks and along streets. It is responsible for 8500 of these while Ausgrid maintains the remaining 13,500.

Ms Moore said the LED roll-out would on completion save up to $800,000 a year in electricity bills and maintenance costs, and reduce carbon emissions by over 40 per cent.

The NSW Government has supported the City’s work, with network operator Ausgrid yesterday announcing a grid-wide roll-out of LED lighting across 41 councils in Sydney, the Central Coast and the Hunter.

Under the proposal, about 10,000 LED streetlights would be installed each year.

“When a standard light on a suburban street breaks, it will be replaced with a super efficient LED,” said Ausgrid’s Paul Myors.

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  1. Ausgrid need to take a leaf out of Essential Energy’s book and get on board with the Energy Saving Scheme. The ESCs generated by the LED retrofit would grossly subsidise the costs of broad-scale roll outs.
    Likewise Essential Energy need to lift their game and get LED lamps approved in their network of streetlights.
    Our Council recently changed over 2,200 lamps (admittedly to CFLs/T5s, but close to the 40% reduction touted by Sydney) at a cost after ESCs of <$4,000.

  2. Richard raises a lot of interesting points in his comment.

    Ausgrid wrote to councils last week, inviting them to meet about this program. We hope the meeting will be an open and detailed discussion so councils get all the information they need.

    Under the rollout any streetlight on a residential road that fails, including 80W mercury vapour lamps, will be replaced by an LED.

    Ausgrid only charges council the cost of running the streetlighting service. If it costs Ausgrid less to maintain LEDs and run the streetlighting service, it will cost councils less.

    It’s important when new technology comes in, that it’s rolled out in a cost efficient and responsible way for everyone, including councils and the broader community, who, through rates or electricity bills pay for these services.

  3. Let’s not get too excited here by politicians making hollow announcements. City of Sydney aside, the true story is about how Ausgrid (and whoever came before) have dragged their feet over the past ten years while councils have been lobbying for the uptake of LED streetlights. Mr. Hartcher’s announcement has come before Ausgrid has communicated their roll-out to councils, who have not seen the detail nor agreed to the changes. For now, Ausgrid are only going to replace 42W CFL’s for LED’s and not the older and less efficient lamps (such as 80W mercury ones), more as a result of significant failures to the CFL’s deployed than a desire to pursue energy efficiency.

    Ausgrid have a monopoly over more than 250,000 streetlamps in NSW and they have only committed to the replacement of CFL’s on residential roads, which represent about 66% of their total streetlights. In May last year, while reviewing the results of their trials, Ausgrid announced to councils that they expected to have the LED roll-out start before the end of 2012. The fact is, they are a monopoly and have been trying to get rid of their stock of failing 42W CFL’s before transitioning to LED’s and delaying the fall in revenue that wil result from more efficient, longer lasting streetlights. It is not in their financial interest to move in that direction and they are only doing so as a result of relentless lobbying by councils and the industry. Even so, it is more of a symbolic move than anything else…

    The catch that has been conveniently omitted in Mr. Hartcher’s big announcement is that the roll-out is not in fact a roll-out; LED’s will only be installed once an existing CFL lamp has failed (unless perhaps a council is willing to pay for the undepreciated assets to be removed?). At this one-lamp-at-a-time pace (just under 50 CFL’s fail each day across their network), LED will be yesterday’s technology before councils save any sum of money in the seven digits. There are about 162,000 CFL’s on their grid, so it will take at least almost 9 years to complete the “roll-out” and even so, we are talking about only 66% of the Ausgrid streetlighting network.