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Streets of Albany: Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow

America is taking energy-efficient initiatives to light its streets. Different states and city’s municipalities are collaborating with multiple agencies to run the lighting campaigns. 

We have covered stories on how American cities are widely replacing their streets into energy-efficient lighting; eg: Phoenix and Philly on our previous blogs. This blog echoes the story of the New York lighting program run by the New York Power Authority (NYPA). 

Smart Street Lighting NY is a statewide program that calls for at least 500,000 streetlights throughout the state to be replaced with LED technology by 2025.

“Our nation is at a critical crossroads in terms of energy usage, and New York is aggressively working to address this challenge,”said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul in a   press release by NYPA dated 26th June 2019. 

The Governor further states that  LED Street light fixture conversions across the state is a “true testament to New York’s leadership in advancing the technology” and reducing the carbon footprint. The new LED lighting fixtures can also act as a future hub for intelligent sensors, WiFi and 5G infrastructure. “ This transformative project for Albany lays the groundwork for future modernization and we thank Governor Cuomo for his leadership in building a cleaner and greener NEW York,” said Gil Quiniones, NYPA president and CEO. 

“This comprehensive city-wide streetlight LED conversion will significantly reduce carbon dioxide emissions and ultimately save Albany taxpayers $3 million annually,”said Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan.

Albany: Today 

In an exclusive conversation with NYPA’s spokesperson Paul DeMichele, we discuss the current state of this program in Albany.

“So far we can say over 130 to 150 communities and 150,000 street lights are in the implementation stage and 65,000 lights are under process or have been implemented already,” he said. 

He further says that “NYPA is in collaboration with the communities in developing design plans for 80,000 LED lights”. 

Albany: Yesterday

The initiative began a few months ago when NYPA started discussing the budget estimation of LED street lighting. 

In another press release, NYPA announced its collaboration with Public Service Commission (PSC) to take a major step towards lighting. This program was initiated under Governor Andrew M.Cuomo. The PSC, as a part of its continuing work, to reduce municipal energy consumption across the state, approved requests to sell utility-owned streetlights to four upstate municipalities, as stated in the press release. 

The four upstates that were given these authorities were the city of Albany, Canandaigua, Cortland and the village of Newark. They can now “install their own state-of-the-art energy-efficient lights to improve safety, lower cost to the taxpayers and protect the environment,” read the press statement.  

The program anticipated that “In addition to the City of Albany, the City of Cortland (Cortland County) will purchase 1,445 streetlights and associated facilities from National Grid, the City of Canandaigua (Ontario County) will purchase 1,130 street lights and associated facilities from Rochester Gas and Electric, and the Village of Newark (Wayne County) will purchase 1,274 street lights and associated facilities from New York State Electric and Gas.”

NYPA partnered with the city of Albany to shape its goal towards the “Smart Street Lighting NY Program”. This program will help in replacing lights to LED fixtures citywide and will help in reducing greenhouse gas emissions by more than 2,850 metric tons a year. That is estimated to be equivalent to taking 600 cars off the road and saving the city more than $3.3 million annually in energy and maintenance costs. 

In addition to financing and implementing the street lighting replacement project, NYPA also provided Albany with $850,000 in funding to support the cities $20million budget in changing 10,800 streetlights. 

PSC’s Chair John B. Rhodes expresses his gratitude by saying, “ Governor Cuomo has long been a powerful champion on the need for local government efficiency and control.” And further stated that the municipality’s approach to installing LED street lights will help in culminating the whole project. 

Albany: Tomorrow

NYPA is working with cities, towns, villages, and other countries throughout NEW York to fully manage and implement a customer’s transition to LED streetlight technology. NYPA provides upfront financing for the project and also helps in taking care of the maintenance to provide a wide range of customer service.  

The program focuses on the passage of the “Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act” that creates the most aggressive climate change program in the nation with goals to reach Zero Carbon Emission in the electricity sector by 2040.

Additionally, the law creates the Climate Action Council comprised of the leaders of various state agencies and authorities as well as legislative appointments to develop and plan, how the state will achieve an 85% reduction in greenhouse gasses from 1990 levels by 2050.

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