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20 August 2021updated 06 Nov 2021 5:55am

Significant municipal energy savings possible through smart street lighting

Global electricity consumption from streetlighting could be slashed with smart cameras and sensors turned on, reducing emissions and advancing the energy transition, says the International Energy Agency.

Smart streetlighting can reduce electricity use by up to 80% via efficiency improvements, saving local authorities money while helping to advance the energy transition, states a report from the International Energy Agency (IEA).

There are 320 million streetlighting poles worldwide, many of which could turn to smart streetlighting in the future. (Photo by SANJAY KANOJIA/AFP)

The electricity consumption of the 320 million streetlighting poles in use globally is equivalent to Germany’s total annual electricity consumption. For a municipality, streetlights can constitute up to 65% of electricity budgets. However, only 3% of these streetlights are “smart”, the report states.

Smart streetlights use a combination of efficient LED fixtures and poles equipped with cameras and sensors. The streetlights can adjust their output according to ambient light levels, helping to lower peak power demand. Solar PV modules which harvest clean electricity can also be used to power the streetlight, says the report.

Highlighting the benefits of such projects, in 2019 the Indian Ministry of Power installed ten million smart LED streetlights, avoiding almost 1,161MW of peak electricity demand and reducing annual carbon emissions by 4.8 million tonnes.

To boost the deployment of smart-enabled streetlights in cities, the report suggests governments look to develop public-private partnerships.

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