Central Otago is making the switch to smarter street lighting, which means sizeable cost savings in the future and a bright future for dark sky tourism in our district.
Contractors are well underway on a programme to replace all existing street lights with LED luminaires in our district within the next five years.
Until now street lights in Central Otago have been high pressure sodium, mercury vapour and fluorescent lights. These aging lights are less efficient and reliable than the new LED technology.
Making the switch to LED lighting is expected to result in significant long-term savings, with whole of life savings of $3.4 million over 30 years and payback on investment within seven years.
The initial investment is $300,000 per annum over five years.
As well as long-term savings, the bonus of the new lighting technology is it is "dark sky friendly", meeting the standards of the International Dark Sky Association (IDA).
Residents and visitors to our district will be able to make the most of our big sky country and enhanced views of the stars.
Installation is currently happening in the Maniototo and will be followed by the Teviot Valley, targeting townships with some of the oldest mercury-vapour-based lights first.
Great news – especially for communities like Naseby, which is looking to establish itself as a dark sky tourist destination.
: Aurora over Aronui Dam, Alexandra. Photo by Alan Thomas.