Mayor John Cooper Introduces Environmentally-Friendly Streetlight Overhaul To Save $20 Million For Nashville

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Today, Mayor John Cooper filed legislation for a proposed streetlight overhaul that implements energy-efficient LED lighting that will save Nashville $20 million in energy costs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 36,000 metric tons over the next 10 years, while improving safety and streetscape aesthetics for Nashvillians.

“This retrofit will allow our streetlight system to operate at its highest potential,” says Mayor John Cooper. “It creates a modern and energy-efficient system that saves money for the city, while significantly reducing environmental impacts and creating safer neighborhoods throughout Davidson County. I’m grateful for the collaboration with Nashville Electric Service that is making this upgrade possible.”

If approved by Metro Council, Nashville Electric Service (NES) will replace over 55,000 streetlights throughout Nashville and Davidson County with LED fixtures. The new LED streetlights – which operate at a fraction of the energy costs required to power Nashville’s decades old high-pressure sodium (HPS) streetlights — will have smart photocells that allow real-time identification of streetlight outages and greater control of lighting levels on public rights of way, improving safety for motorists and pedestrians.

“This lighting conversion will save energy, reduce carbon emissions, and provide the technology to reduce light pollution,” says Metro Councilmember Burkley Allen, lead sponsor of the legislation. “This is an important upgrade for Nashville to make.”

“We get multiple wins out of this program, including the ability to know when streetlights are out as well as important energy efficiency gains,” says Metro Councilmember Freddie O’Connell, co-sponsor of the legislation. “This is both modernization and long-term cost reduction. I’m excited any time we get better, smarter infrastructure.”

While Metro had been in discussions with NES regarding a retrofit for over ten years, Mayor Cooper developed and finalized a plan, in conjunction with NES and NDOT. As part of the agreement, NES and NDOT will enter a 10-year contract with options for extension. NES will be responsible for furnishing, installing, erecting, and maintaining the new LED streetlights throughout Davidson County with NDOT’s oversight. The agreement also includes service

level requirements associated with streetlight maintenance and response to streetlight failures.

“NES is proud to be a part of this sustainable solution for Nashville that also improves community safety. We will know immediately when a new LED streetlight is out or malfunctioning, and our crews will replace it,” says Teresa Broyles-Aplin, President and CEO of NES.

“This upgrade of Nashville’s streetlight system will not only make our city more sustainable, it will make our city safer,” says NDOT Director Diana Alarcon. “Retrofitting Nashville’s streetlights with LED fixtures is a goal of our Vision Zero efforts to prevent roadway deaths and serious injuries, and we’re committed to working with our great city partners to make it a reality.”

Nashville Electric Services distributes power to nearly 430,000 customers, including all of Nashville and Davidson County and parts of the six surrounding counties, covering 700 square miles. NES employees are committed to maintaining nearly 5,900 miles of distribution and transmission lines daily.

The Nashville Department of Transportation and Multimodal Infrastructure (NDOT) is responsible for all right-of-way transportation-related functions for Metro, with the exception of greenways and transit. NDOT is responsible for road maintenance, traffic signals, paving, sidewalks, bikeways, bridges, capital roadway improvements, stop signs and pavement markings, parking and permitting, within the Metro right-of-way in Davidson County.