Idea – More Efficient Highway Lighting

Here’s an idea that could be widely used:
Self power generating highway streetlights.

Whilst driving along the freeway one night in Austin I realized everything was darker than usual. Apparently a large section of freeway had the overhead lights turned off.

Suddenly I realized, “I drive by this freeway every day and never consciously noticed the whole thing was beautifully lighted the whole way.” I looked ahead and saw literally hundreds of tall, light posts illuminating the freeway, and my first thought was, “I wonder what the electricity bill is like?”

*Notice: I’m simply theorizing here. I’m sure all you smart alecs out there can poke huge holes in the feasibility of this plan…it’s just a thinking excercise.

A typical freeway system will have hundreds of these high-output lights populating urban lengths of road:

In an effort to save on the massive electricity costs, it would be cool if these tall posts could take a hint from those widely available solar garden lights you can buy at any store:

A quick Googling of something similar reveals that solar light posts do exist. However they generally run off L.E.D. lights and are not very bright.

Even better would be to have a wind energy component since the lights are generally very tall and must catch a lot of wind. This “city-turbine” (which is in actual use already and can be readily purchased) spins no matter which directing the wind blows from:

These are compact enough to where they could fit nicely atop a pole, something like this:


(Please excuse my poor, non-scaled Photoshop rendering)

Not only would the turbine create energy to operate off, but it would most likely create an excess amount of energy which could be put back into the power grid for a profit.

Obviously a self-generating light pole would cost more money upfront, but the longterm benefits could offset those costs in the long run. It would also be great for more remote areas without access to the main power grid.