Street lights that cost less to operate

IUCN helped to lower fuel consumption in the main urban centres in the Republic of Marshall Islands simply by changing light bulbs.

LED lights are more efficient than mercury vapour or sodium vapour lights. Photo: IUCN

The Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) consists of two groups of 29 atolls and five raised coral islands extending 750 miles (1,200 km) north-south and 800 miles (1,300 km) east-west.  The population is approximately 62, 000 people, 51% of which reside on Majuro, the capital city.

During the oil price escalation in 2008, the RMI economy suffered so badly that Cabinet declared a State of Economic Emergency in July of the same year. Consequently, an analysis was undertaken of key energy issues facing the country and as a result Government decided to develop a national energy policy and an action plan to steer the country away from its heavy reliance on imported fuels.

RMI aims to significantly improve energy efficiency in its main economic sectors and also move towards practical and affordable renewable energy sources for its urban and rural communities. These efforts also link well with the nation’s strategy to build resilience to climate change.

IUCN's project in RMI aimed to make the street lights on Majuro and Ebeye more energy efficient by replacing the mercury vapour and sodium vapour lights with LED lights. The project was completed in 2011 with a total of 689 replacements done with an investment totalling USD 570,000. Work on the ground was completed through collaborative efforts between the Energy Unit and the Marshall Islands Energy Company.

To decrease diesel fuel consumption by improving the efficiency of street lights in urban centres on Majuro and Ebeye.


  • Reduction of energy consumption of streetlights and running cost by USD $300,000 per annum.
  • Reduction in use of imported petroleum fuels for power generation.
  • Less use of diesel fuel translates into less carbon emissions.
  • The importation of new LED lights created opportunities for a market for energy efficient lights.
  • LED lights last longer therefore investment in replacements of lights will be delayed.
  • The retrofitting of streetlights has attracted the attention of other regional organisations in the Pacific and is being incorporated into their work programme for replication.

2008 – 2011


  • Directorate General for Development Cooperation (DGCS), Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • Austrian Development Cooperation
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