Department to review LED streetlights, solar power

The feasibility of requiring energy-saving LED streetlights in new subdivisions will be explored this year by Red Deer’s Electric, Light and Power Department.

An Electric

An Electric

The feasibility of requiring energy-saving LED streetlights in new subdivisions will be explored this year by Red Deer’s Electric, Light and Power Department.

Department manager Ligong Gan said the review is one of several environmentally themed initiatives his staff will be looking at. The potential of partnering with a major power company such as Enmax to promote more solar power use will also be pursued.

As well, the city intends to study the implication on the local power grid of accommodating plug-in electric vehicles, said Gan during city budget presentations on Wednesday.

City manager Craig Curtis said the goal is to make LED lights the standard in new subdivisions if it makes financial sense. While LED lights have traditionally been pricey, the cost of LED technology has been coming down in recent years.

“I think it’s very important that we move aggressively on these issues,” said Curtis. “But it is also very important that we move at the right time.”

This will not be the first foray into LED technology.

The city replaced all traffic and pedestrian lights at 125 signalized intersections in 2008.

LEDs reduce energy demand by 85 per cent to 95 per cent compared to their incandescent counterparts. At the time, the city estimated the lights would reduce carbon emissions from approximately 1,400 tonnes per year using incandescent lights to 100 tonnes per year using LED — a 93 per cent drop in emissions. Power consumption costs were expected to drop to $55,000 from $176,000.

Earlier this year, 22 LED lights and high-efficiency metal halide lights were installed in eight sections along Addington Drive in the neighbourhood of Anders. Some of those lights are using half the power of the current model.

An early survey of about 50 city residents found three-quarters felt the lights were better than regular lights.

Councillor Chris Stephan questioned why more people were not adopting solar power as a means to reduce their electricity costs, and even provide power back to the grid.

Gan said the biggest barrier remains the high cost of installing a solar power system and the amount of time it takes to make that back in savings.

Red Deer currently has eight solar power sites, which made it the province’s solar power leader on a per capita basis.

pcowley@bprda.wpengine.com