Despite much debate and some resistance, almost half of Berlin's approximately 44,000 gas lanterns have now been replaced with energy-saving light sources. So far, 20,800 gas lanterns have been converted, about 12,500 of them to LED lights, the Senate responded to a CDU question.
Currently, there are still 23,400 lanterns that are operated with gas. Of these, more - around 20,000 - are being converted. 3300 gas lanterns are to be preserved because of the protection of historical monuments. About 1500 to 2000 lanterns per year are converted from gas operation to electricity.
According to the Senate, the gas lamps have an energy value of about 1000 watts and consume 4470 kilowatt hours of gas per year. A comparable LED lamp has a connected load of 20 watts with a consumption of 84 kilowatt hours of electricity per year.
Berlin's gas lanterns have been around for about 200 years, initially only in a few streets, later in almost all parts of the city. Many people like the warm hue of the light and the ornate decorations of the lamps. Plans made by the Senate in 2006 to remove them because of energy consumption were repeatedly criticized. An initiative mobilized against this and succeeded in ensuring that at least a small part of the lanterns would be preserved.
In 2008, gas lighting in Berlin cost 13 million euros, which amounted to just under 300 euros per lantern at the time. Since then, gas has become significantly more expensive. In 2012, the Senate calculated that the operating costs for the new electric lights were 50 euros per year - gas lanterns would cost more than 500 euros.
Image by Karlheinz Pape