Keeping Light Pollution Down as a Service to Stargazers

Oceanside Pier

Oceanside Pier Klownacide Records /


Connecting state and local government leaders

Oceanside, California’s smart streetlights and green energy plants are saving money too.

Palomar Mountain, 50 miles east of Oceanside, California, is a stargazer’s dream, so the city government has gone out of its way to adhere to the site’s dark skies initiative.

Oceanside converted 80,000 streetlights from high pressure sodium to softer General Electric LEDs, only using bright lights in high-traffic areas for safety reasons.

At the heart of the city’s 50 percent energy savings—equal to carbon dioxide emissions from 102 homes’ annual use—is the system’s adaptive controls, which save another 20 percent.

“What we can do is monitor each and every fixture from a remote location using a wireless connection,” says Steve Elliot, public works electrical supervisor, in a new San Diego Gas & Electric video . “We can dim one fixture. We can dim 10 fixtures. We can dim 100 fixtures.”

SDGE can monitor energy use at every street light and, as if that wasn’t enough, the city relies on the tandem of a solar and cogeneration plant for half of Oceanside’s energy needs.

The latter San Luis Rey Water Reclamation Facility uses waste as fuel to produce electricity for residents while protecting the environment.

Seeking smart city status, Oceanside’s energy efficiency and green programs save the city money and won SDGE’s 2015 Energy Showcase.

(Photo by Klownacide Records / )

Dave Nyczepir is News Editor for Government Executive’s Route Fifty.

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