Energy Efficiency Elusive in Rec States

Energy could quickly become a major issue for cultivators in recreational cannabis markets.

Neither Colorado nor Washington State has devoted much time to figuring out how to satisfy the huge power needs of the rapidly expanding recreational marijuana industry, according to the news site Environment and Energy Publishing.

Utilities officials in the two states are reportedly concerned about violating federal drug laws if they work with the industry to lower energy use, fearing they could lose millions of dollars in grants as a result.

So they’re hesitant to offer rebates and other perks to cannabis growers for energy efficiency.

The recreational marijuana industry’s energy needs are substantial. Most cannabis cultivation in Colorado and Washington is done indoors and therefore requires a constant flow of electricity for lights and climate control systems.

“This has become a major issue with most of the regional utilities, now that we have legalized the recreational use of cannabis in [Washington],” Kurt Nielsen, who works for a nonprofit organization focused on commercial and industrial lighting, told E&E Publishing. “There is a huge new industry that’s popping up, grow operations. They’re getting as much as 200 watts per square foot of lighting power density, which is astronomical. How are they going to handle and manage this industry?”

Washington alone has already granted licenses for 1.2 million square feet of indoor marijuana cultivation space, with an eventual goal of 2 million square feet, perhaps more.

In Colorado, 279 recreational marijuana cultivators have been licensed since the end of 2013. Some smaller grow operations in Denver have reportedly blown out transformers just by turning on their grow lights.

9 comments on “Energy Efficiency Elusive in Rec States
  1. winston on

    South Porte Bank of Marion Illinois is friendly to the industry. Forward looking directors and at this time the ONLY bank in Illinois willing to help the cannabis industry.

    Reply
  2. Jim on

    Check out Bolder lamp in boulder Co. Cut energy in half and cooling by one third. Better yields and quality. Several commercial growers in co. Will verify the results. 1000 watt sodiums are old school!! New technology is here, get on board.

    Reply
  3. Black Dog Acres LLC on

    As a recently licensed Wa Cannabis producer/processor, we prefer growing our flowers as nature intended…outdoors or in seasonal hoop houses. In this manner Cannabis is not considered a heavy consumer of natural resources such as water. I don’t eat tomatoes grown in a warehouse, why accept flowers grown in a warehouse?

    Wonder if the industry regs will eventual require outdoor growing only?

    Reply
  4. Ann Chovie on

    These marijuana growers are nothing but snake oil salesmen.
    Last year the Gov of Colorado said the revenue would be $100 million, yet actual revenue is $12 million.

    They tell you legalizing pot will eliminate the black market and cartels, yet it has only increased in size and brought in more cartels.

    The marijuana industry is nothing but shuck & jive liars who will say and do anything to sell you something.

    These commercial growers spray fungicides on their pot before harvest and never tell consumers. Buyer beware. Your health is at risk if you buy commercial pot.

    Reply
  5. Josh on

    Grow it under the sun. If not in Colorado, import it form a sunny location.

    Grow lights are silly and wasteful. We are going to face higher energy bills when power plants and transmission company’s have double their infrastructure.

    Reply
  6. Josh on

    Ann Chovi wrote “These marijuana growers are nothing but snake oil salesmen.
    Last year the Gov of Colorado said the revenue would be $100 million, yet actual revenue is $12 million.

    They tell you legalizing pot will eliminate the black market and cartels, yet it has only increased in size and brought in more cartels.”

    Tax rates on Colorado marijuana are near 40%, of course this caused the black market to thrive, more so than before. Also, many people are purchasing medical marijuana because it is tax free. No wonder tax revenue is less than greedy estimates.

    So the real snake oil salesman are the people who want tax rates that are more than the already high normal sales tax of 7%.

    Reply

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