As a part of Las Vegas's growing movement toward renewable energy, the city has installed street lamps powered by footsteps.
Kinetic energy is commonly overlooked as a form of renewable energy, when in fact, it may be key in lowering carbon emissions worldwide. By installing kinetic energy pads in urban areas high in pedestrian foot traffic, tech startup EnGoPlanet has invented a way to harness electricity to power street lamps. Based in New York City, EnGo partnered with local government officials in Las Vegas to install smart street lamps that use solar and kinetic energy to provide light, a WiFi hotspot and phone charging station to pedestrians. Every footstep produces 4-8 watts of energy.
The smart street lamps are a part of Las Vegas’s growing renewable energy initiatives. Formerly known as a hubbub of carefree thrills and showy spectaculars, Las Vegas is looking to change its image. Now, while you enjoy vodka slushies on the street, you can also help power the city and be a part of a revolution. For the last seven years, Nevada has exceeded the state’s renewable energy mandate (20%) through the use of more than 40 separate renewable energy projects— mostly geothermal and solar.
The Huffington Post recently reported that Las Vegas city services are now powered entirely by renewable energy. “We want to provide the highest service levels while also looking to the future and ensuring that we are sustainable,” Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn G. Goodman said.
“Through our LEED-certified buildings, solar projects, water reclamation, alternative-fueled vehicles and sustainable streetlights, Las Vegas continues to lead the way. Las Vegas strives to be on the cutting edge of all things, and this project coincides with plans to develop an innovation district in our downtown.”
While kinetic energy may not be the most efficient form of renewable electricity out there, products like EnGo street lamps are still important. These types of initiatives represent a global movement toward renewable energy sources and taking the impacts of climate change seriously. While this is currently a novelty product, it helps raise awareness about the critical need for this worldwide shift in consciousness. The rise of these products will encourage more advances in technology and design. the Hopefully within the next decade this type of equipment will be normalized and affordable across the mass market.
Furthermore, projects to provide renewable energy infrastructure to impoverished countries ultimately can help villages become more self-reliant and educate people about sustainability. In 2014, only 37% of Africans had access to electricity. Although only 1% of energy currently used in Africa is renewable, major expansion is in the works. On a smaller scale, EnGo is seeking to raise $300,000 in donations in order to install 60 smart street lamp units across 10 areas in Africa.