West Tamar Council moves ahead with Northern Lights Program

More than 950 street lights will be replaced throughout the West Tamar region in the coming weeks as the council moves ahead with its replacement program.

West Tamar council’s general manager Rolph Vos said the motivation behind the change was both for environmental and economic purposes. 

“The lights will save the council money in the long run,” he said. 

“It’s an environmental and economic saving for the West Tamar region.” 

The replacement is part of the Northern Lights Program which will see all northern councils replace their street lights to energy efficient ones. 

The current mercury vapour lights will be replaced with LED (light emitting diode) lights. 

Replacement of the current lights is expected to be underway by the end of September and is likely to take about month to complete. 

Each individual light should only take about 10 minutes to swap. 

The council worked with Ironbark Consulting to produce the West Tamar street lighting business case. 

The plan estimated the capital costs and operational savings of the change over. Future energy price rises, capital costs per light and other variables were all considered to determine the project’s operational savings until 2036. 

However, the council chose to work with council-owned TasNetworks for the replacement project. All residential lights except the compact fluorescent lights will be changed over. 

The project is expect to cost about $550,000, but council hopes to have a return on investment within five to eight years.

The replacement process is expected to eventually save more than $1 million over 20 years. 

The council’s assets coordinator Fred Schoenmaker said expected savings were higher than what was reported in the business plan.  

“The expected savings are higher than the ones in the business case because the council was able to us 14 watt LEDs, which will further reduce costs and increasing savings,” he said.

“LEDs will be much more carbon efficient, but will still look the same and provide the same amount of light on suburban streets.”