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Missouri PSC Approves Grain Belt Express HVDC Transmission Project

LCG, March 22, 2019--The Missouri Public Service Commission (PSC) approved a request filed by Grain Belt Express Clean Line LLC for a certificate of convenience and necessity (CCN) to construct, own, operate, control, manage and maintain a high-voltage, direct-current (HVDC) transmission line to move power east from wind farms in western Kansas to load centers in Missouri, Illinois and Indiana.

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FPL Targets 1,490 MW of Solar Capacity for New Community Solar Program

LCG, March 15, 2019--Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) Wednesday filed a proposal with the Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) for a new community solar program, FPL SolarTogether. Pending PSC approval, FPL plans to install 1,490-MW of capacity at 20 new solar power plants across FPL's service territory to meet anticipated customer enrollment in the program.

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Industry News

Replacing Stoplights With LEDs Pays Off

LCG, April 15, 2003-Have you been stopped at a light recently and noticed the stoplight was not one continuous color but actually composed of many smaller lights? California has replaced many of its incandescent stoplight bulbs with efficient light-emitting diodes.

Using LEDs in stoplights and traffic signals currently saves California 17 megawatts of capacity, according to the California Energy Commission.

California transportation authorities are responsible for more than 2 million traffic signals. Over 200,000 California units have been switched over to LEDs, starting with the red lights, which are on at least 60% of the time.

LEDs have been used in traffic signals for over ten years, but the cost of using the semiconductor-based units has in the last few years come down to a very affordable level.

Conventional light bulbs use a high-resistance filament, which glows when current runs through it. Much energy is lost in the form of heat and infrared radiation, a property which can be quickly verified if you have ever tried to unscrew a lightbulb after a light has been on for several hours.

Light-emitting diodes, however, operate by quantum mechanically converting electron kinetic energy into photons, or light energy. Very little energy is lost by way of heat or other modes of radiation. LEDs have a specially engineered "band gap" which allows higher energy electrons to lose exactly the amount of energy necessary to produce light of a specific wavelength, or color.

In addition to being much more energy efficient, LED's last an average of 8 years, as opposed to the average 1.5 year incandescent bulb lifetime. LEDs in stoplights also confer an advantage in that they are quite small. Even if several of the LEDs in a stoplight burn out, the stoplight can still function because most of the lights will still work, providing for greater safety.

Caltrans officials have said LEDs have brought down energy and maintenance expenditures by $5.7 million.

LEDs are often used for small lights on bicycles and keychains, but some companies are looking into broadening the use of the devices, applying them to more demanding applications such as stadium lights.

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