Washington to Smarten Its Streetlights With LEDs, Wifi – Yahoo Finance

April 6, 2022 by No Comments

(Bloomberg) — Washington, D.C. is heading to Wall Street next week to get funding for a district-wide program to replace all its streetlights with LED technology and install wireless access points in order to expand broadband reach.

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The U.S. capital city is scheduled to sell $154.5 million of green-labeled municipal bonds April 12. It will lend the proceeds to Plenary Infrastructure DC, an affiliate of Plenary Americas, a company specializing in public infrastructure, in what will be the district’s first public-private-partnership, according to underwriter Wells Fargo & Co.

“It’s not a transaction you see every day in the municipal-bond market,” Julie Burger, a managing director at Wells Fargo, said in an interview.

Public-private-partnerships, or P3s, are a small but growing segment of U.S. public infrastructure financing that involves municipal governments teaming up with private companies on projects like highways, airports and parking garages. Private-activity bonds like those being sold by Washington are used to assist private ventures for the public interest by providing low-cost financing.

In Washington, the city aims to upgrade its entire street light network, replacing approximately 75,000 street and alley lights, those that shine on “Welcome to Washington, D.C.” entrance signs, and select areas of underpass, bike paths and tunnel lights with energy-efficient LEDs.

Plenary will design and install a remote monitoring and control system for the network that will allow it to operate much like a smart-home, with the ability to monitor and turn on and off lights from miles away.

Dan Wurst, a senior vice president at Plenary Americas, said that the deal, which has been in the works for years, is the first urban P3 street lighting project in North America where all the related infrastructure including the light heads and poles are being upgraded. He sees more cities following suit.

“There are a lot of cities in North America that haven’t retrofitted their networks,” he said. “This is a good template for cities to adopt going forward.”

The project is expected to reduce energy consumption by more than 50% and eliminate 38,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions each year by switching to LED lights from high-pressure sodium and incandescent bulbs, according to preliminary bond documents.

The green-bond designation could help lure in environmentally and socially conscious investors. “We believe the green designation will help in the market,” Burger said. “We are hopeful that it will expand demand to a broader set of investors,” like funds specifically focused on environmental investments.

The sale is the latest in a surge of green debt in the $4 trillion municipal-bond market. The New York Power Authority, the largest state-owned electric utility in the U.S. sold $608.7 million of tax-exempt green bonds Tuesday and Arizona State University sold two-series of green-debt last week.

State and local governments sold about $25 billion of green-bond sales last year, a 25% increase over 2020, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

(Adds updated New York Power sale in 11th paragraph. An earlier version corrected the company name in second, seventh paragraphs.)

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Source: https://finance.yahoo.com/news/washington-smarten-streetlights-leds-wifi-174109817.html

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