Plan to replace every streetlight in Plymouth with energy efficient LED
ALL 28,000 street lights in Plymouth are set to be replaced by energy-saving LEDs as part of a £13million energy-saving project.
And 19 city-owned buildings will have electricity-generating solar panels installed on their roofs as part of plans to cut costs and improve Plymouth's carbon footprint.
If the city's Cabinet agrees at its meeting on February 12, the council will embark on a four-year energy programme.
The investment will save an average of £1.5million a year over the next 20 years and cut carbon emissions by up to 3,200 tonnes a year, Cllr Mark Lowry, the Cabinet member for finance, said.
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Solar photo-voltaic panels with an electricity output of 82.5kW have already been fitted on four council buildings – Midland House, Martins Gate, Douglas House and Frederick Street Youth Centre.
A plan for panels on the Council House is awaiting planning approval.
And another 14 major schemes are in the pipeline.
Cllr Lowry said the first four buildings would save up to £11,000 and reduce carbon emissions by 37 tonnes a year.
"These projects are all about saving the council taxpayer a lot of money and protecting frontline services.
"Of course they also have considerable other benefits, making our city a safer and more environmentally friendly place to live."
He said the high-tech street lights would use less power and require less maintenance. They are also expected to cut night-time crime because they are brighter.
The plummeting price of photovoltaic cells has made the solar panel project more cost-effective.
The panels will power council buildings during the day, though it's unlikely enough power will be generated to sell a surplus to the National Grid.
"I can imagine people saying, 'Hang on, we don't live in sunny California'," Cllr Lowry said. "But these panels don't need sunshine – just daylight."
He criticised the Government for cutting the feed-in tariff, which rewards small power generators.
"The tariff should be focused around households and businesses to incentivise them to be green and responsible, and not an opportunity for entrepreneurs to make a fast buck at the taxpayers' expense."
The city is also looking at encouraging community co-operatives to get together to fit solar panels.
Cllr Brian Vincent, the Cabinet member for the environment, said the project was part of council goal to reduce carbon emissions by 20per cent by 2015.
A third aspect of the energy-saving scheme will see old and inefficient boilers replaced.
The council is also working with the NHS, Age UK and the Plymouth Guild on the Warm Homes Healthy People scheme. This will see a drive to improve the heating systems for people with cold-related medical problems.
Alistair Macpherson, low carbon city team leader at the council, said: "Energy costs are a growing issue. For a city like Plymouth where you already have fuel poverty there is a real challenge."
He said there were 14,000 households living in fuel poverty and the number was growing because of the economic downturn.
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