A coalition of 26 Kansas City area cities were awarded a $4 million grant this month from the U.S. Department of Energy to research and implement energy-efficient street lamps.

A coalition of 26 Kansas City area cities were awarded a $4 million grant this month from the U.S. Department of Energy to research and implement energy efficient street lamps.

Oak Grove is one of the cities in the Smart Lights Coalition, which teamed up with the Mid-America Regional Council to solicit the grant.

The grant is a part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

The cities in the coalition are too small to have been under normal consideration for block grants, said Jody Ladd Craig, Public Affairs Director at MARC.

“Larger cities have their own allocations,” Craig said. “The Department of Energy decided to make available a pot of funds for cities that normally wouldn’t qualify.”

Oak Grove, according to its website, has approximately 6,500 residents.

The idea is to inject the market with new technologies and give the communities in the coalition access to vendors who sell energy efficient street lamps, Craig said.

The funds will be allocated in two stages, research and implementation.

“First is to test different kinds of energy efficient lighting,” Craig said. “Second is to help these cities get some of the lighting.”

Kansas City Power and Light will team with MARC and the coalition to test different streetlamp technologies and develop bid specs for the communities.

According to a MARC press release, many U.S. cities use inefficient mercury and high-pressure sodium based streetlamps. The grant will help the coalition cities implement cleaner and cheaper lighting technologies such as LED and others.

MARC predicts that the project will produce annual savings to cities of more than $130,000, 1.2 million kilowatt hours of power, and CO2 reductions of 1,379 tons.

Partners in the coalition will pay 50 percent of their utility and environmental savings from the program into a revolving loan fund which will finance additional deployment of energy efficient lights, and to help other cities outside the coalition implement energy efficient lighting.