Illuminating the Night, Saving Energy: Solid State Street Lights

Since the Council identified energy efficiency in its regional energy plan as the key resource to meet most of our future load growth, where will this efficiency come from?

We heard about some promising areas at the Council's August meeting from Claire Fulenwider, executive director of the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance, who gave a presentation on her organization's work.

NEEA's focus has been on market transformation; trying to identify and overcome the barriers to adopting energy-efficient products. The growth of compact fluorescent bulbs is one good example of their progress in this effort.

One of the technologies the organization is working to advance is solid state lighting, especially for street lights.

"Solid state street lights use 50 percent less energy than traditional lights, and with control systems another 50 percent is possible,” noted Fulenwider. This represents a potential energy efficiency resource of up to 150 average megawatts each year.

The next steps for NEEA include testing the lights for improved visual acuity and cost-effectiveness in pilot projects across the Northwest. NEEA also provides technical support to the Illuminating Engineering Society to set standards for outdoor lighting.

"Solid state lights use less energy, but may actually provide lighting that improves nighttime vision and clarity," said Fulenwider.