Light Done Right
This year there are some exciting things taking place in our City. They are the result of a lot of time and effort spent by the Commission and the staff to get to the point where we will be addressing several longstanding issues. While the projects may sound straightforward, there are always a lot of details that must be sorted out before they can proceed. The details include creating the specifications which can be very technical, especially when dealing with newer technology and the financing of any project in a City who is struggling to make ends meet. The two projects below will improve our quality of life while helping us do our part to reduce energy consumption and carbon production. They will become a source of pride for the City and an example for others to follow.
Street Lighting – All of the street lighting owned and operated by the City will be replaced with high efficiency LED lights. By now, most people are familiar with the benefits of LEDs, both in terms of energy efficiency to produce the same amount of light as traditional fixtures, but also because they last much longer than the lights we are currently using. LEDs are also better at placing the light only where it is needed and does not spill light in all directions causing that annoying glare in your eyes and in your windows. There have been many requests for improved lighting in the neighborhoods and commercial areas. This project is our effort to address these issues citywide. The Sheriff’s Office is playing an instrumental role in identifying dark areas where new or replacement lighting is needed based on the safety of our residents.
The installation process will be starting in late February.
Photovoltaic Power Generation (Solar Panels) – Your Lake Worth Electric Utility is taking a big step into clean energy and energy diversification. A Solar Panel array will be installed at the old closed landfill on the south end of our City and will generate 2 megawatts of electricity with the ability to expand up to 10 megawatts.
Not too many years ago our Utility was plagued with an inordinate amount of outages, complaints about the rates, and calls to sell it to FP&L. In the past few years, those trends have been reversed and our services have been improved. We are committed to making Lake Worth Electric a source of pride and a leader in municipal power service. Part of this effort involves finding cleaner and more diversified sources of energy. Having several sources of energy will make us better prepared to withstand changes in the energy market such as when one type of fuel becomes more expensive due to environmental impacts and stiffer regulations. We currently receive most of our energy from natural gas (Orlando Utility Commission contract for power at 33 megawatts), nuclear (FP&L St. Lucie Plant 20.3 megawatts) and coal (Orlando Stanton 1 at 10 megawatts).
Energy costs related to Solar Panels have been dropping as technology continues to improve their efficiency. We recognize there are limitations to Solar that must be considered such as the obvious cloudy days, but spreading the risks of the cost variables over different sources is smart. By using the energy of the sun, we will be producing electricity from a clean source, which is even smarter.
Lake Worth is not a wealthy city and has had serious financial issues over the past several years, therefore, we have had to look at creative ways to fund necessary improvements. These projects are no exception and luckily, the State of Florida made financing energy-related projects possible through a program known as Performance Contracting.
The City went through a competitive selection process, and Siemens was chosen to conduct a review of all of our energy and water usage. That information was then used to create a detailed plan identifying specific equipment, its performance, and how it would yield enough savings to pay for itself. We are now in the implementation phase of these projects and they will be completed within a maximum 18-month period.
In Public Service,
Michael Bornstein, City Manager