Energy Minister Pat Rabbitte last night (Thursday ) officially switched on Crossmolina’s smart street lighting, in what is a first-of-its-kind venture in Ireland. With the backing of Crossmolina Community Development and Mayo County Council, Crossmolina was chosen as a pilot town to test a new public lighting initiative that aims to result in long term savings to the town and council, as well as encouraging the delivery of other energy efficiency projects across the country.
According to Minister Rabbitte, this is the first town in in Ireland to receive smart street lighting.
“There are currently around 420,000 public lights in the Republic of Ireland, the bulk of which are operated under local authorities,” the Minister said. “The energy consumption of public lighting is estimated to represent between 15 per cent and 35 per cent of the total energy consumption in local authorities. Therefore, the potential for energy saving in street lighting is very significant.”
Crossmolina already has a mix of low and high wattage street lighting, resulting in its identification by Mayo County Council as a suitable test project. The pilot initiative aims to test the energy performance contracting (EPC ) of new ‘dimming and trimming’ energy saving technology, through which light output can be controlled for each individual light or group of lights. Through the delivery of this new technology it is expected that Mayo County Council should continue to achieve cost savings over the lifetime of the project.
Minister Rabbitte noted that this initiative in Crossmolina has already encouraged Mayo County Council and other local authorities to examine the potential of funding large scale public lighting renovations as ‘exemplar’ projects under the Energy Efficiency Fund that he launched in February.
“In this regard I was delighted to unveil the first tranche of 22 exemplar energy efficiency projects last June under the Action Plan for Jobs. These organisations spanning the health, education, manufacturing, services, food and public sectors have taken a bold step and are blazing a trail for others to follow. These exemplar projects are demonstration projects that are designed to help us meet our National Energy Efficiency Action Plan (NEEAP ) targets, and in particular the challenging 33 per cent energy savings target that we have set for the public sector.
“Exemplar projects are exciting and innovative and will collectively see investment of up to €55 million in energy saving measures. This in turn is anticipated to generate annual savings of €7 million. Furthermore, they should help support over 500 jobs across the country which is very welcome news given the current economic challenges Ireland faces.”
Minister Rabbitte said he is convinced that the lessons learned here will bring benefits to other local authorities which are keen to reduce their energy costs associated with public lighting.
Exchequer funding of 35 per cent of the costs was allocated by the Government under the Better Energy Workplaces (BEW ) Scheme to the Crossmolina Smart Street Lighting initiative, while the ESB IE provided 15 per cent of the funding.
The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI ) provided expertise and support that has contributed to the successful delivery of the pilot.
It is anticipated that the project will be repaid under a 15 year contract through the energy savings and the maintenance and capital expenditure savings generated over the period of the contract, reducing energy consumption by 35.2 per cent and produce energy savings of 50,190 kWH.