Home Emerging Technology A Stocktake of Australia’s Progress Towards Smart Street Lighting

A Stocktake of Australia’s Progress Towards Smart Street Lighting


When IPWEA first started its Street Lighting & Smart Controls Program in 2016, about 6.5% of Australia’s 2.3 million street lights were LEDs while smart street lighting controls were a relative novelty being deployed at a few trial sites.

Fast forward to 2023 and about 1.4 million of the 2.5 million street lights in Australia have been converted to LEDs. This is very substantial progress totalling some 57% of the national portfolio of street lighting. In terms of energy savings, total street lighting energy consumption has already been reduced by some 30% since 2016, even while the portfolio of lighting has increased by about 200,000 street lights.

There remains work to do with an estimated 1.1 million street lights left to convert to LEDs. However, the drivers for changing to LEDs are only strengthening and include: an ever more compelling business case; the increasing push to save energy and reduce GHG emissions; Australia’s recent ratification of the Minamata Convention on Mercury; and, the global winding down of legacy lamp production of all types.

Based on recent industry sales figures, the bulk of the remaining non-LED street lights will be converted in the next 3-4 years. Completing the conversion with ever more efficient LEDs should result in 60% energy savings compared to 2016.

TABLE 1: Australia’s Conversion to LED Street Lighting

 2016 IPWEA SLSC Roadmap Figures2023 Estimated FiguresEstimated Figures with Full LED Conversion
# Street Lights2,317,000
(150,000 LEDs)
(1,430,000 LEDs)
(1,070,000 additional LEDs)
Estimated Street Lighting Energy Use1,181,000 MWh/yr825,000 MWh/yr475,000 MWh/yr

While there has been welcome progress in LED uptake, few of the new LEDs in Australia are being co-deployed with smart street lighting controls. This is a missed opportunity that is out of step with other large-scale LED replacement programs underway elsewhere in the world. Indeed, as few as 4-5% of Australian street lights have been deployed with smart street lighting controls and much of this has been on customer-owned lighting portfolios (see Table 2 below).

TABLE 2: Australia’s Largest Smart Controls Deployments

CustomerSupplier# Smart Controlled LEDs
AusgridAnnouncement Imminent62,000+
Powercor / City of Melbourne / City of Greater GeelongItron / Schréder35,000+
Qld Dept of Transport & Main RoadsSchréder37,500
ACT GovernmentItron25,700
City of DarwinSignify / Telensa9,500
Victorian Dept of Transport & PlanningTraffic Technologies9,000
City of PalmerstonSignify / Telensa5,500
Endeavour Energy / City of Parramatta & othersSchréder3,000 deployed and expected to be 5,000+
City of Joondalup, WASignify / Telensa3,000+
Sydney Olympic ParkSignify1,600
South Australian Dept of TransportItron / Schréder1,500 deployed and growing progressively

The continuing rapid pace of LED deployment in Australia is a key reason for IPWEA’s recent submission to the AEMC suggesting that recognition of the metering capabilities of smart street lighting controls is urgently needed so as to not miss the opportunity of co-deployment of these systems as the remaining LEDs are rolled out across the country. Many of these remaining conversions are on main roads where the potential additional energy savings are much larger and potential road safety gains more crucial.

Notably, progress with smart street lighting controls in New Zealand is dramatically ahead of Australia with some 75% of the national street lighting network either deployed or committed to deployment of smart controls as LEDs are rolled out nationwide. Auckland’s deployment of 130,000 Telematics Wireless smart controls is the largest in the region by some margin.

While the above discussion focuses on street lighting, it is important to recognise that there are other forms of public lighting owned by councils, universities, mine sites, hospitals, military bases and other bodies. Anecdotal evidence and supplier feedback suggests that the conversion to LEDs and the adoption of smart lighting controls is much more patchy amongst these other owners of public lighting.

IPWEA has worked with Schréder, Signify, Connected Light Solutions, major customers and other data sources over recent weeks to develop the above estimates of LED and smart controls deployments. Their assistance is greatly appreciated.

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