Egypt’s 27 provinces this year will have 1.5 million street lights replaced with energy-saving alternatives that will reduce the nation’s carbon footprint and the portion of the national budget spent on lighting public roads, a local development ministry said on Sunday.
The initiative, a joint venture bythe ministries of electricity and finance, was launched a few years ago and has since resulted in the installation of 2.7 million streetlights, which has saved the government about 9.5 billion Egyptian pounds ($605 million).
The next phase of the project, which will be completed during the 2021/2022 fiscal year, will cost 201 million pounds, but it is expected to save the nation’s coffers 1.6 billion pounds, the ministries said.
The government intends to achieve a number of its broader goals through this initiative: first it hopes to reduce public spending on lighting public roads without resorting to turning them off altogether, which would pose a risk for commuters driving at night.
Furthermore, it aims to boost national industries by producing the new streetlights locally, which has already provided many Egyptians with new job opportunities.
Security is another concern, the ministries said, with well-lit streets being much safer for commuters.
Local development minister Maj Gen Mahmoud Shaarawy said on Sunday that such efforts were vital for tackling the country's rising energy consumption, which reached peak levels this year as millions of Egyptians used air conditioners during one of Egypt's hottest summers on record.
The new street lights will also be more efficient because they emit a more pronounced light beam than their predecessors while using less power, Maj Gen Shaarawy said.
A database was set up under the initiative, which is being used to keep track of which of the nation’s roads have the new lights installed. The database is also being used to direct maintenance on the new street lights.
The new street lights, which come in two capacities, 100 watts and 120 watts, are equipped with technology that turns them on and off automatically according to the unique sunrise and sunset times of each province, the minister said.
They are also equipped with measuring devices that will record changes in the electrical current going through the street lights, which will in turn help the government to keep track of any deeper issues that exist in the broader power grid.
So far, the provinces of Cairo, Qena, Sohag, Gharbiya, Daqahliyah and Assyut have had the largest replacement programme,
The electricity ministry is overseeing the operation alongside the local development ministry and providing technical support.
The finance ministry will provide the financial backing, in addition to working with the state-owned Arab Organisation for Industrialisation – which is manufacturing the new street lights – to ensure they are produced efficiently.