Next month marks the four-year anniversary of the world’s most ambitious LED street light conversion project. On February 16, 2009, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and President Bill Clinton announced a partnership under which the city, advised by the Clinton Climate Initiative, would outfit 140,000 street lights with light-emitting diode (LED) fixtures.
Project planners faced daunting logistics. The City of Los Angeles owns and operates the nation’s second-largest street lighting system: 210,000 street lights (including 70,000 decorative street lamps that will be retrofitted in a second phase) anchored along 4,500 miles of illuminated streets.
The Los Angeles project is of a piece with a larger shift to LED street lighting. Reported at this blog last June, for instance, on results from a global trial of LED street lighting in a dozen cities. The City of Portland (OR) launches an LED retrofit project next month. I could wallpaper my office with press releases from the California Energy Commission announcing LED street light conversions completed in cities across the state over the past 16 months – many funded, as I’ve written about here, under the federal stimulus. A recent Pike Research report found that shipments of LED street lights will increase from fewer than 3 million last year to more than 17 million in 2020.