Whether the last 212 non-LED streetlights in downtown Ann Arbor will be converted to LED technology using $101,733 from the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority is a question that will be answered over the next month. The DDA board voted to postpone the authorization at its May 7, 2014 meeting until June.
The board delayed its vote until its June 4 meeting. DDA board member Roger Hewitt opposed the grant, because the savings that will be realized accrues to the city of Ann Arbor, which pays the energy bills for the lights. Hewitt noted that the relationship between the city and the DDA includes a number of fund transfers to the city. Even though the amount is not huge, Hewitt said, the expenditure of several small amounts could eventually impair the DDA’s ability to pay for major infrastructure improvements.
Other board members joined Hewitt in their concerns, questioning what projects might be sacrificed if the DDA paid for the LED conversion. But they opted to postpone the issue, so the board’s operations committee could review the proposal in more detail.
In 2007, the DDA had previously granted $630,000 for conversion of 1,400 other streetlights in the DDA tax capture district.
The 212 streetlights that haven’t yet been converted are owned by DTE, which would be undertaking the work. Currently, the city pays DTE $72,585 a year for the energy used by the 212 streetlights. After conversion, the annual cost for the 212 lights is expected to drop to $51,895, for an annual savings of $20,690.
After an EO (energy optimization) rebate of $10,224, the $91,509 cost would be recovered in just under 4.5 years. DDA board member Al McWilliams pointed out that the savings would accrue to the city, not the DDA, and argued the proposal should be evaluated just on the basis of its cost to the DDA.
The project would include converting 100 watt MV (mercury vapor), 175 watt MV and 100 watt HPS (high pressure sodium) lights to 65 watt LED (light emitting diode). Further, 400 watt MV and 250 watt HPS lights would be converted to 135 watt LED. Finally, 1000 watt MV and 400 watt HPS lights would be converted to 280 watt LED.
This brief was filed from the DDA offices at 150 S. Fifth Ave., Suite 301, where the DDA holds its meetings. A more detailed report will follow: [link]