Energy Efficiency

NYPA to spearhead New York LED street light program

The New York Power Authority will spearhead an effort to install at least 500,000 light-emitting diode street lights in New York by 2025, a move that is expected to save money and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The program, called Smart Street Lighting NY, could cut energy use by 482 gigawatt hours annually, saving taxpayers $87 million a year, according to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. The program supports New York’s goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030.

"This modernization program will help save taxpayer money, increase energy efficiency, and increase public safety through increased visibility," Cuomo said Feb. 19.

NYPA will lead the initiative, which will also be supported by the New York Department of Public Service, or DPS, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, the Department of Environmental Conservation and other state agencies.

NYPA will offer a one-stop-shop for municipalities and counties to replace inefficient streetlights with more efficient LED technology, and provide technical expertise on design, procurement and construction, according to Cuomo.

As part of the effort, NYPA will provide upfront financing for projects. Municipalities will pay back NYPA from the savings created by the lower energy use from the LED streetlights. NYPA is also willing to finance the purchase of street lighting systems from a municipality's utility if needed, according to Cuomo.

NYPA will offer a wide-array of lighting options, including specifications on the lights to incorporate “SMART” technology that can be used for other functions, such as cameras, weather sensors, Wi-Fi and energy meters, Cuomo said.

"NYPA currently has more than 100,000 LED streetlight fixture replacements planned in our energy services pipeline with our governmental customers,” said Gil Quiniones, NYPA president and CEO. “With the launch of Smart Street Lighting NY, we are redoubling our efforts to aggressively meet or exceed the Governor's goal of 500,000 LED streetlights installed in New York by 2025," he said.

The LED initiative builds on NYPA's June commitment to develop $300 million a year in energy efficiency and renewable measures at public facilities by 2019.

To help NYPA, the DPS is requiring improved reporting from utilities on existing streetlights, helping with potential tariff changes connected with SMART technology.

Under New York’s Reforming the Energy Vision initiative to overhaul the state’s utility sector, DPS streamlined the process utilities use to sell their streetlights to municipalities.

Municipalities can learn more about partnering with NYPA to convert to LED street lighting by clicking here.

Cities around the United States have been converting their metal halide or high-pressure sodium street lights to LEDs.

Portland, Maine, for example, last month started switching over its street lights. The city is replacing 75-watt metal halide bulbs with 30-watt LEDs, which is expected to lower the city’s electric use by 270,000 megawatt hours a year.

Before Portland bought the lights from Central Maine Power, the city paid the utility about $1.2 million a year for monthly lease fees and electricity. Portland expects to spend about $150,000 a year for its city-owned LEDs.

The project includes an advanced control network that will allow city staff to control the output of each street light. In residential neighborhoods, the city expects that streetlights will be set at about 70 percent output in the evening. The output will be cut to between 30 percent and 50 percent output during the night.