Nearly a third of the electrical costs paid by metropolitan boroughs can be attributed to street lighting. For example, Trondheim in Germany has 21,500 street lights, which in 2006 cost them €1,881,250 to power.
There are many ways to actually reduce the electricity used by streetlights, and consumption can actually be reduced by as much as 60 percent just by using new, energy efficient technologies, such as LED’s, smart lighting, and lights out programs.
San Jose in California was able to reduce its annual electricity bill by $4 million just by converting their street lights to LED bulbs; Calgary saves $2 million a year after replacing all of their street lights with energy efficient lights; and Oslo in Norway has made energy savings of 70 percent following its installation of intelligent street lights systems.
Providing the majority of the power from cheap/free renewable energy would also help the local council during these times of economic turmoil when many budgets are tight. This form of distributed energy has already been implemented around the world as small wind turbines are installed in urban locations.
Distributed energy refers to small scale energy that is usually produced in the local vicinity of where it will be consumed, meaning that inefficient transmission lines are not needed, increasing the efficiency of the whole system. In 2011 the global distributed energy market was calculated at $70 billion, but that is expected to grow to more than $150 billion by 2015, a sure sign that more people are interested in small scale renewable energy options, whether it be for homes, offices, or wherever.
Small wind turbines are the preferred choice for personal energy supplies, and for powering city lights or other commercial consumers of electricity.
Examples of recent installations around the world include:
• In 2011, Busan, Korea’s second largest city, installed Sanya hybrid street lamps to help reduce its electricity bill.
• In March 2011, a 600W wind turbine was erected atop the Bell Tower in Imperia, Italy. The Bell Tower is a structure of heritage and it is hoped that the unobtrusive wind turbine will help contribute to the city halls electricity consumption.
• In July 2011, an air conditioning wholesaler in Corpus Christi, Texas, decided to reduce his energy bill by installing a 4,000W wind turbine, in a move that started a trend in the area. Now several large companies in Corpus Christi have installed wind turbines to take advantage of the windy conditions.
• Also in July 2011, the Hotel Vale des Nuvens in Guaramiranga, Brazil, installed a wind turbine which can proved all the power needs of the remote holiday destination.
By. Charles Kennedy of Oilprice.com
Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com