3 January 2018

Norway tests auto-dimming street lights to reduce energy consumption

Norway is testing new lighting technology in a bid to reduce the amount of energy it uses on remote and less-travelled roads in the country.

The municipality of Hole, located within one hour’s drive of Oslo, is pioneering the experiment.

The technology works by utilising radar sensors fitted on light poles to determine when the road is in use, or not. If the road is empty the lights automatically reduce their power to 20 percent brightness.

While the country has previously conducted small-range tests of the technology, this latest project is the largest to-date; a nine-kilometre stretch of road has been fitted with 220 sensor units.

Senior engineer Ottar Bjørnstad at Norway’s Public Roads Administration told trade publication Våre Veger: "This is in the long term very energy-saving, environmentally friendly and, not least, economical for operations and maintenance".

The test is the latest example of Norway’s policies towards reducing energy consumption and promoting sustainable technologies. The country has already led the way in incentivising the uptake of electric and hybrid vehicles. There are now over 100,000 of the cars on Norwegian roads, and last year saw sales reach 27.7% of new vehicles. This was the first time that the technology had outperformed conventional diesel and gasoline cars.

Vidar Helgesen, Norway’s Minister of Climate and Environment, told the recent Sustainable Innovation Forum in Bonn: “We need to look at the entire economy in this energy transformation…We need regulations and we need incentives”.

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