Street Lighting Challenges Should Prompt Pueblo towards Solar LED Lights
Recently, the city of Pueblo has been facing some difficulties with their utility provider and new LED street lights installed in 2014. City Council planned to install 8,000 new energy efficient LED street lights, believing they would pay off the debt with the energy savings from the LEDs. However, the utility wants to double the cost of what it charges the city to use the light poles, electrical lines, and the other street lighting infrastructure, determining they had not been charging enough to cover its fixed costs for the street light system. And even though the city paid for all the new LED lights, the utility still owns them.
In Pueblo, power costs are higher than elsewhere in Colorado, enough that many citizens have been encouraging the city council to exit from their agreement with their utility provider. The community wants the city to form a municipal electric utility and put themselves in charge of power generation—and, aligning with the city’s resolution to generate 100% of its power through renewable by 2035, this city-owned power would be largely wind and solar. Eventually, Pueblo’s city council voted unanimously to approve a resolution to terminate its franchise with its utility provider in 2020 and form a public power utility.
Pueblo, Home of Heroes, Shows Its Determination
South of Denver, Colorado, is “America’s Home of Heroes,” the city of Pueblo. The city is the hometown of four Congressional Medal of Honor recipients, the highest military award that can be bestowed on a member of the US Armed Forces. Staying true to its core values of integrity and teamwork, Pueblo is a key player in the steel industry west of the Mississippi River, hence its other nickname, the “Steel City.” Midwest Fabrication & Steel—a third-generation, family-owned business—has operated for over 85 years and been one of the major players of Pueblo’s steel industry, supplying steel for US aircraft carriers.
Home to around 110,000 people, the city has the least expensive residential real estate of any major city in Colorado. It also boasts an expansive river trail system that stretches along the Arkansas River and Fountain Creek through the downtown core—excellent for bicycling and community activities. With a low cost of living and several “best city” awards under its belt, Pueblo is an excellent, progressive city to live in.
As 2020 approaches, Pueblo has an excellent opportunity to put solar industrial outdoor lighting to use and not only own their power, but their lights, too. Owning their lights gives the city more control over the future of its infrastructure as it ages, and solar lighting removes the cost of the power supply, while also minimizing maintenance costs. In short, choosing reliable solar lighting would ensure a sustainable future for Pueblo.