Energising the Great South Coast of Victoria

A major energy efficient street lighting project, supported by Low Carbon Australia, will produce significant energy and cost savings for six Victorian councils.

Low Carbon Australia will provide finance for just over 50 percent of the Warrnambool City Council’s $872,500 commitment to the larger $3 million Great South Coast Street Smart Lighting project.

Warrnambool’s Mayor, Councillor Michael Neoh said that about 2200 lights would be installed in residential streets in Warrnambool over the next couple of years as part of broader plans by six local government authorities to replace more than 7600 mercury streetlights with more efficient lights.

While Warrnambool’s street lighting is owned and operated by Powercor, Council pays for maintenance and operation.

“By working with Powercor on this upgrade we’re expecting to realise annual savings of over $100,000 at current prices, with the new globes expected to reduce energy usage by up to 68 percent,” said Cr Neoh.

Warrnambool will fund the balance of the costs of the street lighting project through an Australian Government Community Energy Efficiency Program (CEEP) grant of up to $1.4 million for the group of regional councils, which also included the Shires of Colac Otway, Corangamite, Moyne, Southern Grampians and Glenelg Low Carbon Australia’s CEO Meg McDonald said the cost savings from the Warrnambool street lighting project would be greater than the loan repayments, meaning that Warrnambool ratepayers would be better off from day one.

“Street lighting is the single largest source of energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions from the local government sector and it typically accounts for 30 to 60 percent of emissions,” Ms McDonald said.

“It’s a significant issue for councils, and given the complexity surrounding the ownership and operation of lights, it can be a difficult one to address. However, our additional finance is helping break down those barriers, demonstrating the benefits to councils and ratepayers of acting now to realise ongoing savings.”

It is expected that the Great South Coast Street Smart Lighting Program will be rolled out over the next three to five years.