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'Green' light bulb moment for councils installing LED street lights

How many western Sydney councils does it take to change the street lights?

At least nine, when they replace about 13,000 mercury vapour street lights with energy-efficient LED lights next month.

The Light Years Ahead project has been launched by the Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (WSROC) and is tipped to save councils an estimated $21 million over 20 years at current electricity prices.

It will be rolled out across Blacktown, the Blue Mountains, Fairfield, Hawkesbury, The Hills, Holroyd, Liverpool, Parramatta and Penrith.

"There is no bigger threat to our communities than climate change," Penrith mayor Ross Fowler said.

"Through this project Western Sydney will be saving 74,000 tonnes of CO2, which is the equivalent to taking 17,209 cars off the road each year."


The 126,955 street lights across the nine councils account for more than 50 per cent of the council's energy costs.

The $7.8 million project will replace more than 10 per cent of the lights and is said to be the start of future upgrades in the area.

"This is the biggest street lighting replacement project NSW has ever seen. We have 126,955 street lights in our nine councils, said councillor Tony Hadchiti​, WSROC president.

Moves to energy efficient LED lighting were started by the City of Sydney in 2012, when it became the first council in Australia to install LED street lights.

City of Sydney has nearly replaced all of the 6450 conventional lights targeted by the switch, in a move to save about $800,000 a year in electricity and maintenance costs.

Other councils have also started making the change, such as Sutherland Shire council, which has replaced more than 800 of its 15,000 street lights with LED's, or light emitting diodes.

Despite this, the budget for street lighting in the area remains at $4.6 million, a price tag Sutherland Shire mayor Kent Johns said could be improved.

"The current arrangements are not delivering value to our residents and we can do it better."

He is seeking a meeting with the NSW Minister for Industry, Resources and Energy to discuss "a better commercial model for council to deliver street lighting".

Warringah and Pittwater councils have a small number of LED street lights, and while there is not a widespread replacement program LED's are used in new developments and to replace lights as they break.

In Manly LED street lights have not been widely implemented but a trial has been conducted.