USA’s Largest Urban Streetlight Modernization Project Announced In D.C.

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The $309 million DC Smart Street Lighting Project announced by D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser will modernize more than 75,000 lights throughout the District. The project has been praised as the nation’s largest urban streetlight modernization project. It will convert all of the city’s street and alley lights to energy-efficient LED technology.

Eliminates 38,000 Tons of Greenhouse Gas Emissions

The technology will reduce energy usage by more than 50%, as well as eliminating 38,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions each year. The project improves equity of service and extends Wi-Fi coverage in underserved neighborhoods.

“With this project, we’re doing so much more than just replacing lights — we’re making our streets safer, our communities more connected, and our city more resilient,” said Mayor Muriel Bowser. “I’m proud that with the District’s first public-private partnership, years in the making and partly financed through the DC Revenue Bond program, we’re building a stronger, brighter DC.”

Reaching Underserved Neighborhoods

As well as the modern infrastructure, the reduction of energy usage, and the lights’ energy usage, the project extends Wi-Fi coverage into traditionally underserved neighborhoods.

ENGIE continues:

The PIDC team includes:

    • Plenary Americas as the lead developer and equity partner.
    • Kiewit Development Company as an equity partner.
    • Phoenix Infrastructure Group as a DC-based and minority-owned equity partner.
    • ENGIE North America (ENGIE) as the design and construction contractor.
    • EQUANS, an ENGIE company, as the Asset Manager of the infrastructure for the next 15 years.

“The PIDC team will use a comprehensive approach to engage local small businesses, including those certified as Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) to deliver the project. They are committed to hiring and training a local workforce, and both conversion and operations work will be performed by local subcontractors.”

Reduces Light Pollution

The technology will come with remote monitoring and control capabilities. As such, the streetlights will also help reduce light pollution significantly.

Increases Safety for Pedestrians and Cyclists

By minimizing outages citywide, the initiative supports the City’s Vision Zero campaign. That program is already designed to increase pedestrian and cyclist safety.

Historical Esthetic

The project will not involve any changes to light pole placement, preserving the historic esthetic of the area. There will be no changes to the style of poles and luminaries, many of which reflect a historic design dating back to the 1920s.

ENGIE shares, “For decades, streetlights throughout Washington, D.C., have used a variety of inefficient bulb technologies, including incandescent and high-pressure sodium. The District has also long relied on residents calling 311 to report streetlight outages. Alongside the efficient lighting technologies, the project will install smart city technology components, including a remote monitoring, which will help minimize outage response times, and control system and wireless access points. By delivering extended Wi-Fi coverage, the DC Smart Street Lighting Project will help close the digital divide and advance D.C.’s progress toward its goal of citywide broadband access.”

Images courtesy of ENGIE

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Cynthia Shahan

Cynthia Shahan, started writing after previously doing research and publishing work on natural birth practices. Words can be used improperly depending on the culture you are in. (Several unrelated publications) She has a degree in Education, Anthropology, Creative Writing, and was tutored in Art as a young child thanks to her father the Doctor. Pronouns: She/Her

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