Southern Lights

Southern Lights

Southern Lights NSW is an enabling infrastructure project designed to deliver better, safer, cheaper lighting and smarter, connected communities.  Not only will lighting levels be improved, the project will provide significant connectivity benefits to regional and rural communities across southern NSW from Bega to Broken Hill.

The project will see one of the largest deployments of smart-enabled LED lighting in Australia, with over 75,000 LED street lights deployed across a geographic area that is approximately the same size as the United Kingdom.

Covering 41 Local Government Areas, the Southern Lights’ project is evidence of the capacity for local government to collaborate for innovation. Southern Lights’ Project Partners are  the Riverina Eastern Regional Organisation of Councils (REROC), the Riverina and Murray Joint Organisation (RAMJO), Central NSW Joint Organisation (CNSWJO), Canberra Region Joint Organisation (CRJO) and Broken Hill City Council.

The Project Partners are working very closely with Essential Energy, the Distribution Network Supply Provider (DNSP) for the Southern Lights’ Region. This close working relationship is pivotal to the successful delivery of the project.

Next Energy, consultants for the Southern Lights’ Group worked closely with Essential Energy on the preparation of a robust Business Case that demonstrates the return on investment for the project for each participating council. Southern Lights representatives and Next Energy also worked closely with Essential Energy on the preparation and evaluation of the tender for the smart LED lighting and the preparation of the tender specifications for the communications backbone that will support the delivery of smart lighting. The first of the new smart-ready LED lights were ordered by Essential Energy in June 2019.

Meetings are held on a monthly basis to inform the project and develop the pathway forward. The Southern Lights representatives, ensure that the needs of local government are paramount in the decision-making process. Most if not all of the outcomes, processes, procedures and technology choices that have been made over the almost 3 years the project has been running will be of benefit to every council in Essential Energy’s footprint.

The inclusion of a communications backbone to enable the LED lights to “talk” to a Control Management System, means that every participating council will have access to communications that can be utilised to deployed Smart City devices, like bins sensors and parking sensors. Many of the lights will also include Zhaga ports that can be enabled to provide environmental sensing that can monitor for smoke, odours and particulates. Councils are able to choose what Smart City devices they want to use in their communities and make third-party arrangements for their use.

The first of the large scale roll-out of smart-ready lighting commenced in November 2019.

Progress on the rollouts can be found on Essential Energy’s Engagement website.

The day-to-day management of Southern Lights is provided by Riverina Eastern Regional Organisation of Councils (REROC) and for more information on the project please contact Julie Briggs, the REROC CEO on or phone 0269319050 during business hours.

The following images show the ‘before’ and ‘after’ of an LED installation in Bathurst:

Before (High Pressure Sodium)After (LED)