The city of Asheville, North Carolina, continues to make progress in a multi-year effort to replace over nine thousand existing streetlights with LED streetlight fixtures throughout the city. Asheville officials are currently evaluating various funding strategies to determine the best way to finance the $3 million project. The LED streetlight initiative will be a three year effort with several phases, according to Richard Grant, administrator of public works services for the city of Asheville.
Preliminary calculations, established with the assistance of advisers from the Clinton Climate Initiative (CCI), show that Asheville’s energy cost savings will be approximately $400,000 per year. In addition to energy cost savings, the project aligns with the city’s long term goal of reducing its carbon footprint by 80% by the year 2050. “We are constantly looking at ways to reduce our carbon footprint, and this LED streetlight project will have the benefit of reducing our municipal carbon footprint by five percent,” said Maggie Ullman, energy coordinator for the city of Asheville.
The city has conducted a full inventory of its streetlights, and all municipal fixtures in Asheville are owned and maintained by Progress Energy, a regional supplier of power. Currently the city pays about $1.71 million per year to Progress Energy. This amount includes energy costs, the cost of leasing streetlights and poles, and a monthly charge for underground wiring. The cost of energy is expected to be reduced by about 50% while other fixed costs remain the same. Progress Energy has implemented a revised rate tariff to reflect the lower energy consumption of LED streetlights.
The city of Asheville is a regulated utility market, therefore the LED streetlight fixtures will be purchased through Progress Energy. The utility will be responsible for hiring contractors to perform the installation. Asheville’s current inventory of streetlights includes about 2,500 high pressure sodium (HPS) fixtures and about 6,726 mercury vapor fixtures. The LED streetlights will be deployed throughout Asheville’s residential and business districts.