Making the Romanian City of Pitesti Brighter One Street at a Time
In the historical building of Pitesti town hall, Raluca Marin and her colleagues work to find funding for the development of the municipality. When Innovation Norway enters the crowded office, two doves have also found their refuge on a bookshelf. After we send the doves on their way, we are given a tour of the new LED installation put in place with the help of the EEA and Norway Grants.
Pitesti is an expanding municipality 1,5 hour drive from Romania’s capital of Bucharest. Marin tells me the old street lightning system is up to 25-30 years old and needs to be replaced urgently.
Over 300 complaints
In 2022, the Municipality of Pitesti finalised the Norwegian-funded project to green the public lightening system. As we drive through some of the 10 streets revamped through state-of-the-art street lightning as part of the Norway Grants-funded project, I can see the new LED systems on top of the light poles. Raluca Marin, the Project Manager at Pitesti Municipality, explains how they selected which streets to be a part of the project.
Raluca Marin (Pitesti Municipality): We have a folder with more than 300 complaints after installation of the new lightening system.
Innovation Norway: But why did people complain?
Raluca Marin (Pitesti Municipality): The residents were used to the streetlights also lightening up their apartments at night. We got complaints because people where angry when the light did not reach up to the third level and their apartment. But this is normal, people in general are resistant to change.
But after a while, people realised it was actually a good thing that parking lots where lit in the night, so no one vandalised the cars anymore. And they realised they actually didn’t need light in the apartments during the night.
Huge reduction in energy cost
The first month after installation, the Municipality reduced their energy costs with 45%, but later on, they managed to get the reduction up to 50-60%. Pitesti Municipality was collaborating with the Norwegian company Keytouch Technologies to change the lightening system.
Adrian Savu (Keytouch Technologies): This project was two-folded. Initially, the Municipality were looking to replace old sodium bulbs with new LED lights, but coming from Norway, we knew that we could find better solutions where you can obtain further savings. One of them is telecontrol over the system and another is a dimming system based on automation with a sensor.
The explanation goes as follows. One can choose to change the intensity of the light based on movement. If there is movement in the street, the LED-light can go up to 80 %, but when there is no movement you can keep it at 20%. In this way, it is possible to save a lot more sine there normally is not a lot of activity in the night. With these two components included, Pitesti municipality managed to save 30% more than planned in the initial project.
A new communication channel
Adrian Savu also implemented a similar project to green the public lightning system in the municipality of Barlad in Romania. He is very positive when it comes to this kind of bilateral partnership.
Adrian Savu (Keytouch Technologies): Through this cooperation you establish a contact point between Norwegian and Romanian entities. It also opens opportunities for new markets for us as a Norwegian entity.
During one of his visits to Pitesti, he was also contacted by the cultural department of the city of Pitesti, they were interested in getting in touch with someone at the Opera in Oslo.
Adrian Savu (Keytouch Technologies): Through this collaboration (with Barlad and Pitesti) an active channel of communication has been opened. Now we know each other so it is easier to stay in touch
Back at the Town Hall in Pitesti, the Project Manager from the municipality also praises the partnership.
Raluca Marin (Pitesti Municipality): It was an extraordinary collaboration. It’s the first time we entered into something like this, and at the start it was a bit scary. But it turned out to be extraordinary. When we needed help, they came all the way from Norway to Pitesti to offer us their assistance.
Innovation Norway: How did you get in touch with Keytouch Technologies?
Raluca Marin (Pitesti Municipality): We met them at a presentation held by the former mayor of Pitesti, a presentation about sustainable street lightning.
Innovation Norway: Do you still have streets where you need to change the public lightning system?
Raluca Marin (Pitesti Municipality): Yes, until now we only covered 25% of the streets, the funding from Norway covered 10% of the streets needed. With that said, we also want to extend the street lightening network in Pitesti, because the municipality is growing
In a world where change is often met with resistance, Pitesti's journey from traditional light bulbs to energy-efficient LED lights showcases the transformative power of innovation and collaboration. The complaints that initially echoed through the streets have given way to a brighter understanding of progress. The partnership between Pitesti Municipality and the EEA and Norway Grants, supported by companies like Keytouch Technologies, has not only illuminated the city but also illuminated the path towards sustainable growth. As Pitesti continues to extend its network of light and embrace a greener future, let us remember that even amidst the challenges of change, extraordinary cooperation can lead to extraordinary results.
Programme: Energy Programme
Grant amount: €955,667
Total project cost: €1,124,315
Project partner: KEYTOUCH TECHNOLOGY AS (NO)
Finalised: December 2022
- 1.143 sodium lamps were replaced with efficient LED-lamps
- LED lamps and a remote management system was put in place
- Reduction of energy consumption by up to 60%
- Reduction of CO2-emission yearly of 263,58 tonnes
- Reduction of visual pollution for the residents which will have lower intensity street lightening
About the Energy Programme in Romania
The Energy Programme in Romania, managed by Innovation Norway, aims at less carbon intensive energy and increased energy security, providing grants for investments in renewable energy, energy efficiency and electrification of households. The Programme financing is ensured through the EEA and Norway Grants which contribute to social and economic development in 10 European countries, including Romania.
About Innovation Norway
Innovation Norway is the Norwegian Government's most important instrument for innovation and development of Norwegian enterprises and industry. Innovation Norway supports companies in developing their competitive advantage and to enhance innovation. In Romania, Innovation Norway is managing two programmes: the Energy Programme and the SMEs Growth Programme.