Tough Road to Getting LED Lights on the Streets

This story is part of a special series that explores energy issues. For more, visit The Great Energy Challenge.

Power plants may not spring to mind during an evening stroll on a well-lit block, or when an overhead lamp burnout darkens a treacherous bend in the road. But power plants indeed provide muchoftheworldsnightlyabundanceofelectriclight, usually by burning fossil fuel and adding greenhouse gases to the atmosphere along with the glow. And cash-strapped cities foot the bill.

According to theClintonClimateInitiative, street lighting accounts for a staggering 159 terawatt hours of electricity use worldwide each year. That’s more than the annual output of three dozen 500-megawatt power plants. And although street lighting accounts for less than one percent of all electricity use in the United States (it’s about 1.3 percent in the European Union), this comes at a hefty cost for cities. In some areas, street lights command upwards of 60 percent of municipal electricity spending.  Read More →

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