An Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) from the U.S. Department of Energy is giving Southwest Washington cities the opportunity to purchase and test LED streetlight technology. A tri-city partnership of Washougal, Camas and Battle Ground, Washington, is working together as an informal consortium to increase its buying power for LED streetlights. Each city has received $135,000 in EECBG awards. Clark Public Utilities, a customer-owned municipal corporation, is assisting the three cities in identifying and qualifying LED streetlight products.
According to Jim Dunn, assistant public works director for the city of Washougal, “We realize that the technology of LED streetlights is constantly evolving, so the cost is relatively high, but we know that right off we will see savings in decreased energy use as well as decreased maintenance costs.” This thought was echoed among the partner city officials. The cities are also anxious to see how the LED streetlights perform in the extremely rainy conditions of the region. “We need to be sure that the LED streetlights do not reflect the light in the rain and cause a dangerous reflection for drivers,” said Dunn.
In addition to the three pilot projects, the cities are also in discussion with Clark Public Utilities about revising the rate structure for LED streetlights. A portion of the streetlights are metered which will enable city officials to determine actual energy use. Clark Public Utilities is also offering energy rebates with the installation of LED streetlights.