LED streetlights: A capital idea in New Zealand

New Zealand's capital could be the next city in the country to switch to LED streetlights, as the council will soon review plans to refit some 18,000 lamps.

Wellington would then join New Zealand's largest city, Auckland as well as Christchurch and Dunedin among others that have already made the switch according to Radio New Zealand News.

'The Wellington City Council is to consider a so-called "smart" street lighting network which could interact with smartphones and dim when no one is around,' the website reported.

Paul Glennie, the city's street lighting manager, said that the intelligent system could cut slash power consumption by 75 percent. And because it could be controlled remotely, Glennie envisioned other new benefits, such as emergency assistance.

'LED lights come on straight away, they don't need a warm-up period, so we build it into the system where ambulance could tell us that a particular address has called them and we can switch that light to a flash mode,' Glennie said.

The new system would cost between $10 million and $20 million (NZ, roughly £5 million-to-£10 million), depending on features, the story said.

Wellington has New Zealand's second largest metropolitan area population at around 397,000, behind number one Auckland's 1.4 million.

New Plymouth, with a population of about 53,000, is also considering spending about $5.5 million on LEDs to replace 8,100 aging streetlights. One official said the LEDs would save about $10 million over 20 years, kicking in after the 10th year of operation.

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Photo: Like these balloons at Wellington Harbour, LED streetlights could soon rise in the capital city (minus the warmth!) Image is from Reza Ghobadinic via Compfight/Flickr.