Award-winning Belgian roadway lighting project powered by new Alfen substation solution

  • Smart Grids
  • Citelum
  • Belgium
  • 2023

LED lighting delivers a range of benefits to roadway infrastructure, including lower carbon emissions, more efficient light production and safer operating environments. A 20-year public/private partnership in Belgium called the Lumieres 4.0 Plan involved modernizing more than 100,000 lights along the roads of Wallonia with smart LED lighting technology. Traffic management and electrical systems provider Citelum by Luminus Cities supervised the extensive effort and contracted Alfen to manufacture and install multiple substations powering various technologies that are collectively illuminating the roads of Wallonia. 


Reimagining an infrastructure of roadways that provides the necessary lighting for motorist safety while also contributing to decarbonization efforts is no small task. And yet, that’s precisely what the Lumieres 4.0 Plan in Belgium has accomplished for the community of Wallonia under the project supervision of Citelum by Luminus Cities. The initiative called for modernizing ~2,700 kilometers of roadways with LED lighting connected to monitoring technologies enabling automated system-wide management. With an infrastructure far more complex than the one it replaced, the project required power for a number of applications in addition to the LED lights themselves. Given this complexity, Citelum selected Alfen as the substation technology provider to deliver electricity from the local grid to its broad scope of technologies.  


As the project’s lighting and supporting systems were installed across thousands of kilometers, Alfen stepped in to strategically place five new substations throughout the community and connect them to Wallonia’s grid infrastructure. The effort represents the first installation of Alfen’s new Altro technology in Belgium. Altro substations are pre-fabricated walk-in units designed to support medium- and low-voltage grid connection needs and can support a broad range of carbon-free power applications, including electric vehicle charging stations, solar parks and industrial companies with renewable power infrastructure. 

“The extensive footprint of this project, along with its range of power needs across various types of supporting technologies, required a custom substation solution that Alfen delivered known as the Altro,” said Citelum Project Manager Pedro Marsylle. “The short-cycle installation and grid connection of the units were key contributions to what has become an award-winning initiative that makes all of us proud.”


Wallonia commuters are benefitting from multiple safety enhancements to the new roadway infrastructure. The LED technology is managed remotely with an automated system that adjusts their luminance according to the time of day for optimum visibility conditions. The project also features new detectors on 300 exit ramps to prevent drivers from traveling in the wrong direction. And, with LED efficiency delivering 76% in energy savings compared to the former system, Wallonia is seeing a 166,000-ton reduction of C02 emissions per year. 

“Ambitious efforts like the Lumieres plan are putting Belgium at the forefront of demonstrating how Alfen can help reduce emissions while improving the infrastructures of our communities simultaneously,” said Alfen Sales Manager Hatim Ouald Chaib. We appreciate Citelum giving our team the opportunity to contribute to this award-winning project, and salute their leadership in managing such a complex initiative.”   

The Lumieres project has been recognized by Belgium’s Green Solutions Awards as winner in the 2021 ‘Grand Prix Green Infrastructure’ category, as well as second prize in the 2023 ‘Infrastructure’ category.