PLA’s Work Applauded by U.S. Department of Energy

May 22, 2014

Public Lighting Authority of Detroit’s Work Applauded by U.S. Department of Energy

PLA Announces Manufacturers and Best Value Agreements to Benefit Detroit

DETROIT – U. S. Energy Secretary Dr. Ernest Moniz Thursday recognized The Public Lighting Authority of Detroit (PLA) for its use of energy efficient LED lighting as it continues its work relighting the streets of Detroit.  At a news conference in Detroit, Moniz congratulated Mayor Mike Duggan and PLA CEO Odis Jones for their ongoing efforts to relight the city in a manner that will produce a smaller carbon footprint.

At the same time, Jones announced agreements with three firms with proven track records of commercial grade, outdoor street lights to provide street lights to the PLA. The three winning firms are Cree, Inc., of Durham, NC, Leotek Electronics USA Corp. of San Jose, CA, and Walker-Miller Energy Services of Detroit.  As part of their agreements with the PLA, the three companies have pledged to form local partnerships to provide capacity building, training and education for Detroit students.

“This is a win-win agreement for the PLA and the City of Detroit because we are procuring state-of-the-art lights while at the same time creating opportunities for Detroiters to get a foothold in this dynamic growing area of technology,” said Mayor Mike Duggan.  “I congratulate the three companies and the PLA for coming up with this innovative approach.”

Value Agreements

These opportunities will give young people the skills and training they need to be prepared for tomorrow’s workforce. Specific support includes:

  • Cree, Inc., in partnership with Detroit Area Pre-College Engineering Program (DAPCEP), is instituting a training program to expose DAPCEP students to the design and manufacturing challenges associated with LED lights. The training sessions will be facilitated by LED technical experts on the campuses of Cree’s Michigan partners. The goal of the program will be to increase the science and technology foundation for youth by improving knowledge of the LED lighting industry and associated opportunities.
  • Additionally, Cree will also be ensuring students will receive energy and LED educational training by making certain they have the transportation necessary to make it to those classes. DAPCEP currently has bus depots strategically located in the city of Detroit and Southfield. Cree will be sponsoring DAPCEP’s bus transportation for DAPCEP’s Saturday courses next school year. Cree wants to make sure that any student interested in science and technology has access to these tremendous opportunities.
  • Leotek Electronics USA Corp has committed itself to ensuring Focus: HOPE has the machinery it needs for students to receive advanced training through its Machinist Training Institute. The company will be purchasing HAAS Control Simulators that will provide more simulation opportunities for students for Computer Numeric Control (CNC) Machining as well Desktop 3D printers to allow the development and offering of a comprehensive 3D Modeling/Printing module to improve the skill level and employability of their students.
  • Walker-Miller Energy Services, LLC has also partnered with DAPCEP and has developed a course to expose students to the technology associated with LED lights and infrastructure in urban centers. These LED and energy-focused courses for high school students were developed using nationally recognized program modeling and will be conducted by technical experts and K-12 educators as facilitators with the project and on-site, hands on opportunities.
  • Walker Miller Energy Services will also host high school students for summer internship programs as well as Wayne State University college students for semester credit internships in the fall, both with the intent to provide insight and experiences in the growing LED field through real work opportunities and hands-on practices.

Jones said a total of more than 6,000 LED lights have been installed in the city thus far with work continuing on a daily basis.

The PLA Board decided in January to install only LED lights throughout the city because LED lights provide brighter light, are more cost efficient and will better serve the Detroit community in coming years.  In addition, the cost of LED lights has been steadily going down, making them more affordable.  The LED lights being installed in neighborhoods are the equivalent of 150 watt High Pressure Sodium lights, more than twice as bright as the 70 watt High Pressure Sodium lights that have been the standard in the past.

Timeline to Relight Detroit and Next ZIP Codes

The PLA completed work on overhead lights in two demonstration areas, one on the east and one on the west side, at the end of April.  An engineering survey of the two pilot areas that were completed last year showed that nearly half the lights in both areas were not working when the relighting began.

The survey work, which is the first part of relighting a neighborhood, is now being continued into other parts of the City so that the installation of new lights will continue without interruption.  Workers began installing lights in the following additional ZIP codes May 1, with a deadline to complete installation of LED lights using overhead wiring in each ZIP code by the end of 2014: 48205, 48215, 48219, 48223, 48224 and 48235.

As the PLA rebuilds the City’s street lighting system, it has a goal of completing all neighborhoods by the end of 2015.  Work on thoroughfares, which use underground wiring, will be completed by the end of 2016.  Approximately 50,000 new LED lights will be installed in the city during the next two years.

About the Public Lighting Authority of Detroit

The PLA was authorized by the Michigan Legislature in December 2012 and approved by Detroit City Council earlier in 2013 to design and implement a plan to improve Detroit’s public lighting system. The PLA is governed by a five-member board, all Detroit residents, appointed by the Mayor and the City Council.