Last week the U.S. Department of Energy announced that it has signed up utilities that service over 70 percent of U.S. electricity consumers. For what, you ask? To support bringing to market and consumers the high-efficiency solid state lighting products that will be identified in the coming months through the governments Bright Tomorrow Lighting Prize, or L-Prize. In a nutshell: the products that place first in the race to provide a light-emitting-diode based replacement for the 60-watt incandescent lightbulb and the PAR-38 reflector lamp. The L Prize competition aims to radically accelerate Americas shift from inefficient, dated lighting products to innovative, high-performance products. Utilities sign up to weigh in with their own incentives and programs to promote the winners.
DOE reached the 70 percent threshold when it sealed memoranda of understanding with six new utility partners: Ameren Illinois Utilities, Long Island Power Authority, National Grid, Platte River Power Authority, Progress Energy, and Puget Sound Energy. Agreements were also struck with a key state-level agency, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and a leading regional NGO player, the Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships.
The NEMA- and NGLIA-backed L Prize, the first government-sponsored technology competition designed to spur lighting manufacturers to develop high quality, high-efficiency solid-state lighting (LED) products to replace the common light bulb, through the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. For more information about the L Prize, visit www.lightingprize.org.