Update: New LED Streetlight Conversion Opportunity

One of the biggest opportunities for local governments to save energy and money is upgrading to energy-efficient LED street lights. For many municipalities, street lighting is the single greatest electricity cost in government operations. Beyond saving energy and money, LED technology has superior optics over the older technologies, improving visibility and reducing glare, which helps to make streets safer for pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists.

Westchester has been at the forefront of LED streetlight conversion in New York State since the Village of Dobbs Ferry began converting its lights in 2011 and the City of Yonkers became the first municipality to complete a full conversion of its 12,000 streetlights in 2014. Municipalities in ConEd service territory have experienced fewer barriers to streetlight conversion as they own their own streetlights, unlike in most of the state where those assets are owned by the utilities.

Happily, two major changes have opened new opportunities for LED conversion across the state, including in NYSEG territory in Westchester:

  1. Under the direction of the New York State Public Service Commission, all of the state’s utilities now offer, or will soon offer, LED street lighting options; and
  2. State legislation amending Public Service Law has resulted in streamlined procedures for municipalities to purchase their street light system from the utility and upgrade to LEDs of their choosing.

This means that all local governments now have two conversion pathways available to them, along with some important decisions to make:

  • Do they upgrade to utility-owned LEDs or do they purchase their street light system and procure their own LED fixtures?
  • If the latter, which procurement, management, and financing options would best meet their needs for purchasing the system and implementing the upgrades?

The Mid-Hudson Street Light Consortium, a NYSERDA-funded effort to support municipalities in streetlight conversion, published this report to help guide municipalities through this important decision-making process.

READ THE REPORT

About LED Street Lights Initiative.

The Mid-Hudson Street Light Consortium is a project supported by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) to create a more affordable pathway to LED street light conversion for Ulster, Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Sullivan, Columbia, Greene and Westchester municipalities in the Central Hudson Gas & Electric, Orange & Rockland, New York State Electric & Gas, and Con Edison territories. Converting to LED street lights has the potential to deliver electricity cost savings of up to 65 percent to municipalities. NYSERDA’s 2014 study, Street Lighting in New York State: Opportunities and Challenges, found that if this were accomplished statewide, an estimated 524 gigawatt hours of electricity and $97 million would be saved annually.

LEDstreetlights

The project is expected to save Mid-Hudson communities more than $6 million in energy costs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 42,000 MTCO2e over the next 15 years, if only 20 municipalities were to participate. Assistance in understanding LED conversion options is available to all 249 municipalities in the Mid-Hudson region. Many of the municipalities currently rent their street lights from their utility.

Many Mid-Hudson municipalities are eager to convert but encounter hurdles understanding their options and successfully negotiating the outcome they seek.  This is where the Mid-Hudson Street Light Consortium can help. Support to municipalities that join the Consortium – at no cost – includes:

  • A survey of Mid-Hudson municipalities to ascertain which municipalities seek assistance with conversion to LED streetlights, and what types of assistance are desired.
  • An Options Study to analyze the pathways to LED conversion (through utility leasing or municipal ownership) for municipalities that do not currently own their streetlights, focusing on regulatory (tariff) and financial considerations.
  • Information and support for municipal streetlight audits. Audits verify currently installed equipment and may allow for utility refunds for past overcharges and/or support evaluations of appropriate replacement equipment.
  • Procurement support, including model Requests For Proposals (RFPs) that address furnishing, installation and maintenance appropriate to each utility territory to streamline the procurement process for interested municipalities.
  • Support for an aggregated procurement process to capture volume pricing discounts for interested municipalities.
  • Information and analysis regarding streetlight buyout terms being offered by the various utilities to individual municipalities.
  • Continuous knowledge sharing via webinars, workshops and a conference.

Converting to LED streetlights is one of 10 High-Impact Actions communities can pursue under NYSERDA’s Clean Energy Communities Program. For more information about the Mid-Hudson Streetlight Consortium, please visit:

For questions and/or to join the Consortium, email Pat Courtney-Strong at pat@courtneystrong.com.