Gustine goes green with energy efficiency

The City of Gustine can now see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Or, in this case, in the street.

A total of 53 brand new light emitting diode, or LED, street lights have been installed, casting a brighter glow on City streets than the old high-pressure sodium bulbs they replaced. The new lights are also significantly more energy efficient, saving the City much needed cash on its utility bills.

What this means to the average taxpayer is significant savings to City coffers through lower utility bills. The energy efficiency retrofits when complete will save the City about 23,962 kilowatt hours of energy per year. This roughly equates to a savings of about $3,047 a year.

And that’s a big deal in these troubled economic times.

Another big deal is that the entire project isn’t costing the City a dime. The money that makes the project possible comes from an Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant provided through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The program is administered through the U.S. Department of Energy and the California Energy Commission.

Gustine joined with 35 other cities and counties in the region to form the San Joaquin Valley Clean Energy Partnership, which is led by the San Joaquin Valley Unified Air Pollution Control District with the assistance of the nonprofit San Joaquin Valley Clean Energy Organization. The Partnership administers the more than $4 million in grants and provides technical assistance to local governments.

The City worked with Pacific Gas and Electric Co., which installed the lights through its LED street light retrofit program.