Turkey Plans LED Street Light Conversion Project

Turkey hopes to save millions of Turkish Liras and kilowatts of energy with an ambitious LED street light conversion project that has whet the appetite of sector players, including its leader, General Electric.

The project to replace Turkey’s seven million street lights with LED-illuminated ones emerged last June with the remarks of Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yıldız.

The project would be an important attempt to cure Turkey’s distressing current deficit, which is majorly sourced by energy import dependency, by being more sustainable. In order to contribute further to this aim, the government has established the local production of LEDs as a condition.

“Currently, there is no technology to produce LEDs in Turkey but after importing the LED chips, local firms can easily undertake the task,” General Electric (GE) Lighting’s Turkey and Stan Countries General Manager Selçuk Mert said yesterday in an interview with Hürriyet Daily News.GE Lighting is one of the project bidders pledging its technical expertise in LED technology. The company will apply for a pilot project in the capital of Ankara to prove to the Turkish government how much energy would be saved if LEDs are used.

Two companies have already applied pilot projects and the government is in talks with several foreign and local companies to figure out the terms of local production and reach a final decision. The government spends around 650 million liras annually on street lights and hopes to save up to 75 percent of energy used by switching to LEDs.

General Electric Lighting is also in talks with the Health Ministry about using LEDs in all Turkish hospitals. If the project is realized, all the illumination systems used in local hospitals will be replaced with LEDs.“The Turkish government is taking solid steps and investigating its options in the sector,” Mert said.

Governments – including, recently, European ones – have passed measures to improve the energy efficiency of light bulbs used in homes and businesses and banned the usage of incandescent light bulbs.

Turkey follows the environmental regulations of the EU closely and is taking corresponding action, Mert said.

LED technology costs around twice as much as other illumination solutions upon initial implementation, but in the long run it provides substantial energy, thus saving money. “There is a will to adopt change and legislations drive that,” General Manager of GE Lighting’s EMEA region Simon Fisher said.

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