As part of its celebration of Earth Week in Massachusetts, the Baker-Polito Administration announced last week the award of $5.5 million to 77 cities and towns across the Commonwealth through the Rapid LED Streetlight Conversion Program – a grant program that included awards to Everett and Lynn.
The program, jointly administered by the Department of Energy Resources (DOER) and the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC), supported the installation of 116,139 LED streetlights that are projected to reduce electricity usage by more than 35.1 million kilowatt hours (kWh) and lower costs for municipalities by over $5.4 million per year, while avoiding over 10,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions annually – equivalent to taking over 2,150 cars off the road.
“As Massachusetts celebrates Earth Day, we are pleased to work closely with our municipal partners to support energy efficient streetlight conversions that will reduce electricity use and lower costs,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Innovative and cost-effective energy efficiency programs like this streetlight conversion program are a key component of our emissions reduction strategy to achieve our climate and energy goals of the future.”
The awards were announced by DOER Commissioner Patrick Woodcock and state and local officials at an event in Lynn last Thursday, which received a $263,242 grant and recently completed installation of 6,602 LED streetlights. The retrofit is expected to save the City over $300,000 annually while cutting Lynn’s electricity usage and carbon emissions by over two million kWh and 603 metric tons, respectively.
Lynn and Everett are two of nine grantee municipalities with more than half of its population residing in an Environmental Justice (EJ) neighborhood. In total, over $1.7 million in grant funds went to the nine EJ communities – which will result in annual municipal electricity savings of approximately 12.9 million kWh hours and avoid 3,800 metric tons of GHG emissions each year – accounting for 38 percent of total emissions avoided through the streetlight program. Other EJ communities awarded grants over the course of the program include Ayer, Brockton, Malden, Leominster, Lexington, Lowell, and Quincy.
Launching in 2017 through the end of 2020, the $5.5 million Rapid LED Streetlight Conversion Program was administered by MAPC on behalf of DOER, delivering energy efficiency benefits to a diverse cross-section of Massachusetts’ rural, suburban, and urban communities, from Quincy to West Springfield to Athol. The program provided grant funding for 30 percent of the cost of materials and installation associated with converting conventional high-pressure sodium (HPS) streetlights to light emitting diode (LED) technology, which is capable of cutting electricity usage by 50 to 70 percent. The longer-lasting fixtures can also reduce routine maintenance costs by at least 50 percent.
In addition to energy efficiency, the benefits of LED streetlights include their ability to provide more uniform lighting to enhance targeted visibility and safety and to reduce glare and light pollution by reflecting less light into the atmosphere, preserving the dark sky for stargazers and for wildlife that rely on it for navigation and other behaviors. Unlike conventional high pressure sodium streetlights, LED lights can be equipped with wireless controls that can be dimmed to provide the level of illumination needed at any given time and generate even greater GHG emissions, energy, and cost savings benefits. Of the 77 grantee communities, 17 opted for LED streetlights with “smart” controls that allow dimming and other advanced functions.
The following local municipalities received Massachusetts Rapid LED Streetlight Conversion Program grants:
•Everett – $69,247
•Lynn – $263,242