Every year in Florida, baby sea turtles scurry from their nests at night and make their way to the ocean. Thousands of nests are laid every year on Florida’s beaches. Tourists from around the world travel to Florida, which is home to over 90% of all sea turtle nesting in the continental United States, to see the turtles hatch.

Unfortunately, light pollution can lead baby sea turtles away from the ocean. In addition, artificial lighting can interfere with sea turtles coming ashore to lay eggs. Since sea turtles use natural light to navigate their way to the ocean, light pollution can distract them, leading them away from the safety of the ocean and into populated areas where they can die from fatigue, dehydration or other threats.

Working with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to protect these creatures, Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) is utilizing its existing Itron wireless mesh network to monitor and control 500,000 smart streetlights. Prior to making its streetlights “smart,” FPL would dispatch crews to all the streetlights on roadways near nesting sites and disable the lights for the turtle season (typically March through October). This was an imperfect process. Now with its connected smart streetlights, the energy company is able to program the streetlights to be off during hatching season and monitor the status of the lights to know if they are on when they shouldn’t be (e.g. after maintenance).

Itron’s network and smart streetlight control equip companies like FPL to remotely control lighting while laying the groundwork for other smart city services. For each company, the reason for smart lighting can meet different needs. For Florida, it’s about sea turtles – for other cities, this technology can enhance public safety or monitor air quality.

At this year’s Itron Utility Week (IUW) in Marco Island, Florida, we’re all about the power of community. By bringing together industry leaders, we believe we can find solutions to universal and specific problems facing utilities and cities around the world. Our ability to transform the industry lies in community – and that community includes all species that share our planet.

Learn more about IUW 2019 here.

Dan Evans
Senior Director, Smart Cities and Smart Lighting - Itron
Dan Evans is Senior Director of Product Management at Itron, where he defines the product roadmap for the Smart Cities and Smart Lighting business unit. Dan joined Itron through their recent acquisition of Silver Spring Networks. Dan joined Silver Spring in 2007 and was instrumental in building the product, processes and team who took Silver Spring Networks’ installed base from 5,000 units to over 27 million today. Prior to Silver Spring Networks, Dan has over 30 years of experience in the networking space in a variety of roles at SkyPilot Networks, Excite@Home and NASA. Dan has a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from San Jose State University in California.