U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz is going to be in Detroit on Thursday, May 22 to discuss the city's ongoing effort to replace existing streetlights with LED bulbs. The Obama administration has partnered with the city's government – as well as private company DTE Energy and the Public Lighting Authority of Detroit – in order to make 50,500 of the city's streetlights energy-efficient. The project began in February of this year and is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2015.
According to John Roach, a spokesperson for Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, over 6,000 lights have already been installed since the announcement of the initiative, with 500 new ones being charged and prepared for use every day. Secretary Moniz is visiting the city to laud the enormous progress that is being made on this front, as well as emphasizing the need for all major U.S. cities to more fully commit to protecting the environment and counteracting the effects of global climate change.
"We're not purchasing the lights. We help them match up with manufacturers and hopefully get good prices. We try to bring together the state and local governments, utilities, manufacturers, investors, banks," Moniz told the Detroit News ahead of his visit.
According to city officials, a year ago about 40 percent of Detroit's 88,000 streetlights were not functioning properly. The city has struggled to pay off its energy bills, particularly in the wake of the financial crisis that greatly impacted the U.S. auto industry. With these new LED fixtures installed, experts estimate that Detroit will save $1.5 million each year in power costs.
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