This week, a coalition of 16 Victorian local governments will start a major street lighting upgrade project that is expected to result in major energy savings and cost reductions through swapping old mercury vapour street lights for energy-efficient LEDs.
The Lighting the Regions project is flagged to shave 77 per cent of energy, with savings of more than $57 million over 20 years, in addition to substantial substantial savings in operations and maintenance costs and greenhouse gas emissions reductions of about 180,000 tonnes.
It is believed to be one of the largest street lighting partnership projects undertaken in Australia, and involves City of Greater Bendigo, who are taking the role of lead council, Central Goldfields, Hepburn, Pyrenees, Loddon, Swan Hill, Gannawarra, Mount Alexander, Buloke, Ararat, Northern Grampians, Hindmarsh, Horsham, Yarriambiack, West Wimmera and Mildura. Together these LGAs comprise nearly half the entire area of regional Victoria.
Funding for the $11.6 m project includes $5 m from the federal government’s Community Energy Efficiency Program.
In addition to the local government partners, the project, which will run until June 2016, has support from the Wimmera Mallee Sustainability Alliance and the Central Victorian Greenhouse Alliance.
The Distribution Network Service Provider for the Lighting the Regions project is Powercor, which maintains and operates street lighting infrastructure on behalf of the local government partners.
Project chairperson Ray Kingston said that it represents a “once in a generation opportunity to engage regional communities and individuals to make positive energy efficiency changes in the home and the workplace”.
“This collaborative partnership will yield significant economic and environmental project benefits for the 16 local government Councils involved in the project and will pull together the expertise, resourcing and financial resources required to take energy efficiency action together with their communities,” Mr Kingston said.
The project is being launched by Hepburn Springs mayor Cr Don Henderson, Mal Thorp the acting general manager Energy Programs Branch Department of Industry, Mr Kingston and sustainability advocate and strategist Rob Gell at an event in Hepburn Springs on Thursday [October 16].