The state power authority recently approved a $500,000 grant for Syracuse to begin work on a project to buy and then replace all of the city’s streetlights with energy efficient light-emitting diodes.
Ownership of those lights will save the city an estimated $3 million per year and reduce greenhouse emissions by 6,100 tons. It will also allow for an interconnected “smart” grid with access points for data collection throughout the city.
State officials have been touting Syracuse as New York’s flagship for a new smart city program. The New York Power Authority put aside $7.5 million to help other cities follow Syracuse’s lead. The $500,000 grant for Syracuse is the first money awarded from that pot.
“Helping our customers bring their streetlights into the future further advances NYPA’s reputation as a first-mover in the energy-sector,” said NYPA President Gil Quiniones in a statement. “NYPA has already installed thousands of new LED street lights with hundreds of thousands of additional lighting fixtures already in the pipeline.”
Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh last year announced his administration’s plan to purchase 17,507 streetlights from National Grid at a cost of $38 million. The Common Council agreed to borrow money to pay for the project.
The new lights will be outfitted with nodes that can connect to a variety of devices that will help the city collect data on things like traffic or weather. They can also be outfitted with wireless internet hubs, setting the stage for citywide broadband access.
This January, Walsh announced a plan to develop the New York Center for Smart Cities as part of his robust “Syracuse Surge” strategy. That will be a hub from from where the city can collect and manage information from the new smart grid. It could also be a sort of training grounds for other municipalities hoping to follow suit with a grid.
The streetlight push is part of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s “Green New Deal” — an effort to push clean energy.
“New York is leading the way in developing innovative new technologies that enhance energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” Cuomo said in a statement. “This funding to modernize street lights across the state will not only increase public safety through increased visibility, it will also advance our aggressive initiatives to combat climate change and create a cleaner, greener New York for all.”