10 minute read

Behind the scenes at The Lobethal Lights

Chris Williamson
17 December 2018

While the lights may not have been shining on the Australian Cricket team at the Adelaide Oval as they usually do at this time of the year, they were most certainly shining bright in the small town of Lobethal in the Adelaide Hills.

Located 42km from the Adelaide CBD, Lobethal name translates from German to mean the “Valley of Praise”. Every year the entire town of Lobethal participates in their annual tradition “The Lobethal Lights”. The tradition of lighting up the streets has been part of the town since the 1950s when locals hand painted lights to decorate shops and businesses.

Since then it has grown every year and now claims to be the largest community Christmas lights event in the Southern Hemisphere! Not bad for a little town outside of Adelaide!

I’ve been told that visiting the lights is something of a pilgrimage for Adelaidians, and it is clear to see why. The place exudes charm and it was full of festive spirit.

I arrived at the aptly named ‘Main Street’ in the early afternoon as the shopfronts and homes worked on the final stages of the light designs. With almost 250,000 people expected to visit Lobethal over the coming weeks, the local shops were definitely in for a busy time!

I was given the hot tip by locals that a few houses on Bartholomew Street had some of the best lights displays of the year, so I headed up to watch their houses light up. Finally… the time had come… lights on!

So, what was I doing there?

AGL was a main sponsor for the event,donating $10,000 of financial and in-kind support towards the organisation of ‘Lights of Lobethal’.

I felt fortunate to be part of the community that night and indeed, quite nostalgic to be amongst the magic of Christmas that I remember as a kid.

The whole town was glowing with not only festive lights but also genuine happiness. Kids were running from home to home, dogs were dressed as reindeers, even the adults had dressed up to participate in the festivities.

It is clear, that the community had put a lot of their energy into their Christmas light designs, and all their hard work paid off for sure. It was a site to see!


But how much literal energy does AGL contribute to Christmas lights?

While we power a lot more than just Christmas lights I tapped into AGL’s Greenhouse and Sustainability Manager, Theo Comino’s data series to look at how much energy our sites produce every day and then he converted that into a Christmas Light Index, for fun. Because if you can’t have fun like this at Christmas, when can you? #datanerds

A key assumption for this Christmas Light Index is how much energy is used for your average Christmas lights. We turned to the definitive source of all things sausage sandwiches and Christmas lights, Bunnings.

For example, keeping it local to Adelaide… On an average day, AGL’s Torrens Island Gas Power Station produces enough energy to power 119,539,680 sets of LED fairy lights! That’s 47,815,871,969 LED Christmas lights bulbs every day! That’s right; in one day!

So, how many Christmas lights could some of our other assets power?

Asset Enough energy to power
X 400 LED bulb sets per day
Enough energy to power
X LED bulbs per day
AGL Loy Yang 708,538,480.02 283,415,392,009
AGL Macquarie (Bayswater & Liddell) 1,039,454,361 415,781,744,453
AGL Torrens 119,539,680 47,815,871,969
Bogong Hydro 3,687,012 1,474,804,695
Wattle Point Wind Farm 11,941,084 4,776,433,600
Hallett Stage 1 Wind Farm 13,897,320 5,558,928,019
Hallett Stage 2 Wind Farm 11,168,372 4,467,348,770
Hallett Stage 4 Wind Farm 21,081,572 8,432,628,791
Hallett Stage 5 Wind Farm 7,101,663 2,840,665,036
Oaklands Hill Wind Farm 8,303,009 3,321,203,516
Macarthur Wind Farm 46,988,302 18,795,320,986
Nyngan Solar Plant 11,257,975 4,503,190,013
Broken Hill Solar Plant 5,837,791 2,335,116,292