Lighting the Regions

Lighting the Regions.jpg

Image source: Ironbark Sustainability

Lighting the Regions Stage 2

Work is underway on Lighting the Regions, a project to replace street lights with energy efficient LEDs across the Mildura local government area.

There will be temporary disruptions to traffic and parking as works are undertaken to replace the street lights in areas including Cabarita, Cardross, Cullulleraine, Irymple, Koorlong, Merbein, Meringur, Mildura, Murrayville, Nichols Point, Ouyen and Red Cliffs.

The majority of the street lights being replaced are along major roads. Most lights on residential streets were replaced in 2015 during stage one of Lighting the Regions, so there should be little impact on most residential streets.

What is Lighting the Regions?

Lighting the Regions Stage 2 is a partnership between 11 Victorian Councils, the Central Victorian Greenhouse Alliance, the Victorian Government and Ironbark Sustainability. The regional project involves replacing over 11,000 street lights to more energy-efficient LEDs.

When will the works be taking place?

Works have commenced and are due to be completed in March/April 2022. For a project of this size, works schedules are developed on a week-by-week basis. Weather and other contributing factors can result in delays.

How will the works affect my street?

The changeover of a street light involves a single elevated work platform with two to three crew members. It generally takes less than 10 minutes to replace a street light, so any disruptions to traffic flow in your street should not last long. All cars can remain parked on the street. Most of the lights being replaced are on main roads so there may be some temporary disruptions to parking.

What are the benefits of replacing lights?

By March/April 2022 all street lighting within the Mildura local government area where Mildura Rural City Council pays fully or partly the operational and maintenance costs will have been converted to LED technology, cutting Council’s energy and maintenance costs by a further $2.5 million over the next 20 years.

Approximately 1,819 street lights will be replaced across the Mildura region, reducing Council’s annual electricity use by approximately 566 megawatt hours. The project will see Council achieving its target of a 15% reduction in street lighting electricity consumption by 2022.

In addition to the cost savings and environmental benefits the new LED street lights will be more reliable and provide more consistent lighting and better visibility than the technologies they are replacing.

How will the lights be powered?

Mildura Rural City Council signed on to the largest ever Power Purchase Agreement by local government in Australia in 2021, the Victorian Energy Collaboration. All of our street lighting has been powered by 100% renewable energy since 1 July 2021 in line with our Towards Zero Emissions Strategy 2021-2050.

Why did the councils choose these particular lights?

The LED lights have been selected by the councils based on energy and cost efficiency, and suitability from the selection of products approved for use by Powercor, which is the Distribution Network Service Provider (DNSP) that owns the lighting infrastructure across the region.

The lights have been tested to ensure they meet relevant Australian Standards in regards to safety and light levels. These lights are already operating across a number of local government areas.

The new lights have:

  • Greater uniformity of light across and along the street
  • Better colour rendering and visibility
  • Less depreciation of light output over time
  • Less glare
  • Lower maintenance costs

Who is installing the new lights?

Powercor and its sub-contractor Omexom will install the new LEDs with oversight from Ironbark Sustainability. They will liaise with Mildura Rural City Council throughout the project.

Who makes the lights?

The lights are made by Sylvania-Schreder Lighting and are assembled in Australia.

How long do the lights last?

The luminaire (the main body of the light including the LED light source) will last about 20 years, as will the LED chips.

Who actually owns the lights?

The lights are owned and maintained by Powercor.

Are the old lights recycled?

Yes. The recycling of the old street lights taken down during the project is the responsibility of the installer. The tender for the replacement of lights specifies waste disposal requirements, which include the recycling of around 98% of the old lights. For example, the glass collected is recycled into products such as glass wool insulation for homes. The mercury is distilled and reused in the dental industry to manufacture amalgam. The aluminium body and other fixed components (for example, steel screws and copper wires) are collected and end up as ingots used in industry.

Who funded the project?

The $2.2million Mildura Lighting the Regions project has largely been funded by the Australian Government through $1.63 million in Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Program funding. Mildura Rural City Council has contributed $587,247 from its 2021/22 capital works program towards the project.

Who do I call if I have any questions about the works?

Please call Council’s Environmental Sustainability Coordinator Jay Smith on 03 5018 8100 if you have any queries.