Electric vehicles (EVs) reduce greenhouse gas emissions and pollutants that cause smog and acid rain. Compared to gasoline powered cars, EVs are significantly more energy efficient and cost approximately 50 to 70% less to operate per mile.
NYSERDA’s Clean Fleets High Impact Action is an effort by local governments to invest in alternative fuel vehicles and infrastructure while increasing opportunities for constituents to
access EVs charging stations. In communities large and small, urban and rural, charging stations are being installed at a wide variety of locations across New York State.
Town of Ulster joins regional street light consortium as is considers switching to LED fixtures
By William J. Kemble,
Excerpt: TOWN OF ULSTER, N.Y. >> The town will participate in a “request for proposals” being issued by the Mid-Hudson Street Light Consortium in an effort to reduce the amount of electricity used by municipalities in the region.
The Town Board voted last week to join the regional effort. Supervisor James Quigley said the proposals will provide the town with information about the cost of switching to LED bulbs for street lights.
“It’s a voluntary action on the part of the towns,” he said. “I wish to have the town’s name added to the RFP (request for proposals) so that when the RFP goes out, if this Town Board feels it is advantageous to take advantage of the services and the prices that are achieved by this bidding process … the town has the ability to participate in the bulk purchase of LED lights.”
To assist smaller communities with LED street light conversion, the Mid-Hudson Street Light Consortium has prepared a Community Managed Request For Proposals (CMRFP). The purpose of the RFP is to offer communities maximum savings in converting to LED street lights.
The Consortium now has 18 communities actively interested in moving forward with an aggregated purchase of LED street lights. RFP participants will benefit from group pricing on installation and maintenance of LED street lights. Individual municipalities will be responsible for inventorying their existing street lights and determining the design of the new LED system, but will benefit from hands-on assistance from the Consortium.
Other communities can “piggyback” on the RFP for up to one year but will not have access to the Consortium’s assistance. The Town of Red Hook will be the lead Participant, so communities planning on “piggybacking” will use that town’s individual contract with the chosen Bidder as the model. To obtain a copy of the RFP, municipalities may email
This RFP has been reviewed by Sive Paget Riesel, a law firm specializing in municipal issues. Municipalities should engage their own counsel to review the RFP as well.
If your community is interested in using the CMRFP, you must first pass a local law authorizing your community to accept Best Value bids. A best value procurement policy allows you to select bidders on other factors, such as quality and expertise, and not just price. Secondly, your municipality must also sign an Intermunicipal Agreement (IMA) to be provided by the Mid-Hudson Street Light Consortium to those who wish to join.
Your email or letter expressing an intention to join the RFP should include a copy of your utility-generated existing street light inventory and any addenda to the RFP that your municipality will require.
Ulster County and the towns of Ulster and Rosendale have passed local laws to allow the use of Best Value criteria and may offer language that could be re-purposed as templates for other communities:
The deadline for notifying MHSC for your municipality’s interest in joining the Consortium is November 15. Note: Your municipality will not be required to enter into a contract with the successful Bidder by virtue of participating in the RFP; you’ll have a chance to evaluate the advisability of moving forward after the firm is selected.
The Mid-Hudson Street Light Consortium (MHSC) is providing support to Mid-Hudson municipalities interested in participating in aggregated procurement of LED street lights. The Consortium will support two distinct procurement strategies, Turnkey and Community-Managed. Key attributes of each, and the support provided by the Consortium, are described below.
The Community-Managed approach, to be issued first, will include procurement of equipment through state contracts, issuance of an RFP for labor with bids detailed on a per unit basis, with an option for extended maintenance. The Consortium will provide guidance for other aspects of the scope of work as well.
In turnkey projects, a single contractor manages the full project. The Request For Proposals (RFP) being developed by the Consortium will require bidders to break out their price for key components of the total scope of work and to bid either on a per unit basis or a percentage mark-up for each. Participating communities will select which elements of the scope of work they would like to contract for apart from equipment and labor, which are integral to the RFP.
-The Consortium will release the Community Managed RFP in early Q4, followed by the Turnkey RFP.
– Municipalities must notify MHSC of intent to join Community Managed RFP by November 15.
Converting to LED street lights has the potential to deliver electricity cost savings of up to 65 percent to municipalities. The Mid-Hudson Street Light Consortium is expected to save Mid-Hudson communities more than $6 million in energy costs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 42,000 MTCO2e over the next 15 years, if 20 (fewer than 10 percent) municipalities were to participate.
Although most communities understand the potential savings, the steps to conversion can feel daunting. The Mid-Hudson Street Light Consortium has been at work identifying the steps to conversion to make it easier for your community to start the process.
Download the infographic to help your municipality understand the steps necessary to convert your street lights to LEDs. The steps in the infographic are the approximate order based on our experience; however, many of the steps can be taken concurrently.
This is the final, summary chapter of the Guide, which is a forthcoming report by Jen Metzger, PhD, Mid-Hudson Street Light Consortium.
While the benefits of LED street lighting are substantial from a financial, environmental, and community perspective, communities whose lights are owned by the utility have been challenged to move forward because they lack information about the pathways to an LED conversion. To help fill this gap, this report has explained the options available to local governments for upgrading to LED street lights, and has described and assessed the costs and advantages of different ownership models and financial strategies. This final chapter suggests steps for implementing an LED street light project, integrating findings of this study along the way.
Conducting a third-party billing audit and a field inventory of your community’s street lights are two key first steps toward converting to LEDs. Often, the utility’s inventory of street lights is inaccurate. The lights no longer exist or wattages in the field do not match inventory. Billing audits verify currently installed equipment and often result in utility refunds for past overcharges and/or support evaluations of appropriate replacement equipment. The money saved can help reduce LED conversion project costs. A field inventory of a municipality’s street lights allows you to design optimal placement of new LEDs, taking into consideration location conditions, e.g. residential vs. commercial and areas of high pedestrian/vehicle conflict, etc.
In June 2016, the American Medical Association (AMA) released a document titled “Guidance to Reduce Harm from High Intensity Street Lights.” The AMA presented recommendations related to possible health risks of increased short-wavelength content of outdoor lighting sources, including the conversion to LEDs from older products. As often occurs with complex scientific and technological advances, the guidance by the AMA has been misunderstood and misreported, creating confusion for consumers.
In response to many questions and concerns from communities considering street light conversions, the U.S Department of Energy has recently published two documents related to the health effects of LED street lights.
A study of the expected contributions to sky glow from converting high-pressure sodium (HPS) street lighting to broader-spectrum (i.e., white light) sources, with specific focus on LEDs, which presents the contributions in a manner relative to HPS baseline conditions.
A set of frequently asked questions (FAQs) assembled in response to ongoing discussion of the AMA community guidance on street lighting.