LED Lighting Laggards

The LED revolution is in full force in Australia with over 100 Australian councils having now completed a changeover to LEDs, making Australia an international leader, outshining most of Europe, South-East Asia and North America in LED take-up. LED street lighting consumes as little as 20%-30% of the power of the lights they replace.

Why the switch to LED street lighting?

Throughout most of Australia, local councils are responsible for funding the electricity that supplies street lighting within its council boundaries. As such, councils must account for the carbon emissions associated with the supply of street lighting electricity in their emissions reporting. Street lighting usually represents by far the largest demand for electricity by a local government authority, and therefore the largest source of emissions for a local council.

Changing out street lighting to LEDs therefore represents one of the greatest opportunities for a local council to reduce its carbon emissions. Furthermore, the changeover is self-funding, as the electricity cost saving pays for the new LED lights in a reasonably short timeframe. This is why there is a LED revolution taking place across local government organisations throughout Australia.

In NSW, nine local councils came together in 2017 to replace almost 15,000 energy guzzling street lights with efficient LED technology. This has rewarded councils with electricity savings of $20 million and 91,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions over 20 years.

In June 2021 the City of Fremantle announced an initiative to replace 160 street lights with LED lighting…

11 June 2021: https://heraldonlinejournal.com/2021/06/11/seeing-the-light/

How does this stack up with other Councils?

Our neighbouring councils are getting on with it!

The City of Nedlands and the Town of Cambridge announced in February 2017 that they would start upgrading street lights to LEDs. The City of Stirling updated its Street Lighting Policy in early 2020 to mandate the use of light-emitting diode (LED) lighting, as a replacement for City owned assets and for all new installations.

In June 2021, the City of Cockburn signed off on its involvement in a ‘super-trial’ to replace 47,000 streetlights with smart LED bulbs in a bid to slash costs and curb greenhouse emissions. Cockburn council have approved the City’s involvement in a five-council trial proposed to Western Power, which would replace streetlight luminaires on the South West Interconnected System (SWIS) with smart-enabled LED lights.

The ‘super-trial’ would see 13,850 outmoded streetlight luminaires within the City of Cockburn replaced with the smart lamps, which use 80 per cent less energy. Cockburn are the first council to announce their involvement, with the Cities of Albany, Armadale, Canning and Melville also expected to be involved in the trial. What a wasted opportunity that Fremantle missed – why didn’t we register to be part of this super-trial?

Cockburn’s annual streetlight emissions are estimated to fall by 49 per cent, from 5,588 to 2,781 t CO2e, a carbon emissions reduction of 2,807 t CO2e.


The City of Fremantle needs to lift its game, stop the Green Washing, and get on with large scale LED streetlight replacement.