City of Newark
At a Glance
Commercial Energy Efficiency
Supraja Sudharsan conducted research and performed an economic analysis for the implementation and ongoing maintenance of LED streetlights for the City of Newark.
The City of Newark’s Department of Engineering sought to explore opportunities for improving Newark’s street lighting infrastructure. The street lighting infrastructure in Newark is owned by its Investor Owned Utility (IOU), which offers an unmetered lighting service to communities within a certain segment of the industry. However, the absence of a lighting tariff-- designed to support a retrofit project of this kind--and limited available options provided by existing IOU policies represent a significant impediment. EDF Climate Corps fellow Supraja Sudharsan was brought onboard to identify successful utility business models and partnerships, suggest improvements to save tax payer dollars, achieve Newark’s sustainability and smart city goals, and enhance Newark’s quality of life.
Supraja assessed the success of street lighting retrofit strategies, the technical and operational barriers, and the financing mechanisms adopted by cities across the United States. After gathering details of Newark’s existing street lighting infrastructure, evaluating the utility’s efficiency of service in response to outages and understanding the advanced lighting technology market, she saw a compelling case for Newark and its IOU to develop a strategy for replacing existing street lights with LEDs.
Based on discussions with LED technology consultants, regional energy efficiency non-profit groups and local stakeholders, followed up with a review of street lighting resources published by the U.S. Department of Energy, Supraja proposed a three-pronged strategy. The strategy was based on:
• building a local coalition to work collaboratively on identifying goals and objectives for a new tariff
• formulating innovative procurement and financing options
• working with Newark’s IOU and State regulatory agencies to support equitable modifications to existing lighting tariffs.
The recommended strategies have the potential to reduce energy costs and GHG emissions by 40-60%. Installing new street lights will attract new businesses, add skilled jobs to the local market and increase public safety through improved lighting coverage. If successful, the changes could accelerate the adoption of advanced lighting technology for other cities and utilities in New Jersey, and would allow communities to accomplish similar operational and environmental goals in their jurisdictions. Last but not least, it would enable the City to forge a path towards implementing advanced technological features in its infrastructure services that would drive the community toward a smart city future.