Shrewsbury – State Representative Hannah E. Kane (R-Shrewsbury) joined the Baker-Polito Administration Dec. 13 in announcing $11.4 million in grant funding opportunities to help cities and towns across Massachusetts convert traditional streetlights to LED technology through the Department of Energy Resources (DOER) Rapid LED Streetlight Conversion Program. DOER has partnered with the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC), the Massachusetts Municipal Wholesale Electric Company (MMWEC), Energy New England (ENE), and four Municipal Light Plant (MLP) communities to administer the grant funding to municipalities that currently own their traditional streetlights and expedite streetlight conversions.
The town of Shrewsbury recently applied to the LED Streetlight Conversion Program through MMWEC. The program encourages communities to make an environmentally friendly and cost-efficient change to LED streetlights by reducing the cost of conversion through grant contributions made possible through the Baker-Polito Administration.
It is expected that the town will notice at least 25 percent in electricity savings in one year as a result of converting to LED streetlights. The grant amount, though unknown until the bidding process is completed, will likely be between $250,000 and $300,000. Shrewsbury Electric and Cable Operations (SELCO) will be required to match the grant amount and cover the cost of labor associated with the work, which is estimated to be between $75,000 and $100,000.
“It was a great honor to join Michael Hale, [SELCO] general manager … as the Baker-Polito administration once again demonstrated their commitment to meeting our environmental goals by empowering cities and towns throughout the commonwealth to reduce their own environmental impacts,” Kane said. “I applaud SELCO for their proactive measures that enabled them to avail of cost savings through this grant program and take steps that will directly benefit the residents of Shrewsbury and our environment.”
SELCO General Manager Michael Hale stated, “The LED grant conversion grant partnership with DOER is another example of locally owned public power benefiting the ratepayers of the community. The street lighting conversion grant provides environmental benefits, reduces the need for trucks to replace conventional street lighting, and foremost reduces the cost of the Town’s street lighting budget.”
LED streetlights are more energy efficient and longer-lasting than other common street lighting technologies; converting saves cities and towns money both on their electric bills and in operations and maintenance. LEDs offer a number of other advantages as well, including improved visibility, reduced light pollution, and the ability to install advanced controls such as dimming, remote control, and Wi-Fi capability.
Massachusetts ratepayers will also see benefits from converting the commonwealth’s streetlights to LED models, in addition to the direct benefits that cities and towns receive. Streetlights are operational during early morning and late afternoon during the winter months. These are hours of peak electric demand, and high demand for natural gas for both electric generation and home heating during these hours leads to higher energy prices. Converting streetlights to LED technology, which uses up to 60 percent less energy than standard streetlights, can decrease demand and lead to lower prices.