Skip to main content

Thomas K. Dreessen
Chairman and CEO, EPS Capital Corp.

Street and public area lighting is a key service provided by municipal governments. Good lighting at night is essential for road safety, personal safety and urban ambience, and it indirectly prevents crime and provides security of properties. Well-lit streets also boost economic opportunities by expanding the hours of commercial activity after dark.

Providing street and public lighting is one of the most expensive responsibilities of a municipality and can account for up to 60% of their energy consumption and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. New energy eflicient new light-emitting diode (LED) technologies can dramatically cut street lighting costs and simultaneously reduce GHG emissions. LEDs provide many benefits to older technologies that include :

• 50% or more savings in electricity consumed at the same light levels
• Much longer life resulting in at least 2 less lamp replacements
• Better quality lighting with higher color rendition, brighter and more true colors
• Can be easily dimmed, and high-quality light can be directed to specific areas
• No warm-up required to reach optimum light levels
• Contains no toxic chemicals (e.g., mercury) and there is no production of ultraviolet light

With the exception of a few areas and small highway sections, most municipal street lighting systems in developing countries like Indonesia are outdated, use ineflicient technologies, and are poorly designed and maintained, resulting in high energy and maintenance costs. This is due to a number of reasons that include:

• The current requirement for governments to procure the lowest up-front cost products does not take into account the life-cycle cost, resulting in the purchase and use of older and less efficient technologies.
• Lack of knowledge, standards, testing facilities, and measurement equipment applicable to the new and energy-efficient LED technology.
• Lack of knowledge of best practices in street lighting installation, maintenance, and the measurement, reporting, and verification of lighting system performance.
• Limited options for the financing and scale-up of street lighting programs.
With a view toward scaling up the efforts for larger energy efficiency projects in municipalities throughout Indonesia, the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the state-owned PT Perusahaan Listrik Negara (PLN), and the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources collaborated on the implementation of a pilot LED Streetlight project in the two municipalities of Batang and Semarang, and at several PLN power generating and substation facilities.

The Pilot LED Retrofit Project included the procurement and retrofit of 1,429 LEDs that generated average ‘measured and verified’ savings of 50%. It also included the development of new specifications for LEDs that focused on luminaire performance, quality of delivered illumination, and vendor qualifications. The new specifications were based on international best practices and used for.
When adding maintenance savings from fewer lamp Areal challenge to scaling up the retrofits of LED street lights is that a significant portion of the electricity savings generated from LEDs may not be realized by municipalities due to:

• PLN billing on a flat fee (lump sum) basis or not consistently charging municipalities based on actual electricity consumed, even where PLN meters are in place; or
• operating staff of municipalities wanting to install new LED lamps with the same wattage as the lamps being replaced because they are not aware (or do not believe) that the new LED technology provides the same lumen levels with significantly less wattage. replacements to energy savings, the simple payback periods averaged about 5 years, which is very good considering the low subsidized electric rates in Indonesia. Also, in virtually all locations, the LED retrofit provided improved average illumination levels and light distribution, and it also delivered more light to previously dark areas.

The improved lighting is illustrated below in the pre- and post LED retrofit pictures at Batang.
ADB published the below knowledge product on its website, which provides complete details on the lessons learned and best practices and standards to be used on LEDs.

By Thomas K. Dreessen, Chairman and CEO, EPS Capital Corp.