A City of Melbourne project to replace more than 15,000 street lights with energy efficient LED bulbs will be paid for by the federal government’s Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF), the Clean Energy Regulator (CER) announced today.

The LED project is part of a $30 million program of initiatives announced by the City of Melbourne in October 2015, with an overall aim of reaching zero net carbon emissions by 2020.

Chair of the City of Melbourne’s Environment Portfolio, Cr Arron Wood, said the $14.4 million lighting project is expected to create 10,000 tonnes of carbon abatement each year.

“We’re pleased to have our first project registered under the Emissions Reduction Fund. Public lighting accounts for nearly half of the City of Melbourne’s energy use, so we expect to save more than $1 million a year on our electricity bills,” said Cr Wood.

The ERF is the centrepiece of the government’s heavily criticised Direct Action policy, and involves the ‘purchase’ of carbon abatement by funding projects that deliver emissions reductions

The Public Lighting Upgrade Project has been registered under the ERF’s commercial and public lighting method. The method credits emissions reductions from projects that improve the energy performance of lighting systems in commercial and industrial buildings or, as is the case with the City of Melbourne, public areas such as pedestrian, street and traffic lighting.

CER Chair Chloe Munro said: “It is good to see an iconic city like Melbourne leading the way by engaging in the Emissions Reduction Fund. Their project demonstrates that small changes, like replacing light bulbs, can make a big difference to overall energy use.”