Report: Marijuana cultivation can be ‘burden’ to power providers

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A new report from an energy research nonprofit has concluded that indoor cannabis cultivators use so much electricity that it could prove to be a “burden” to utility companies, as well as the regulators that oversee them.

The report, by Denver-based EQ Research, recommended that public utility companies and government officials act to balance the needs of both cannabis growers and the rest of their customers, given that the industry is already using billions of dollars a year in electricity.

The nonprofit noted that indoor growers’ energy use “is on par with data centers, which are themselves 50 to 200 times more energy-intense than a typical office building.”

EQ recommended that utilities ensure that indoor growers – which use the most energy – “know how much energy they are using, when they are using it, and when it is most expensive to use.” EQ also recommended enacting efficiency rebates, incentives for growers to increase energy efficiency and revisiting grid connection policies and costs for upgrades.

For utility commissions and other government agencies, the report suggested encouraging “collaboration between utilities and growers,” clean-energy use, financing opportunities for growers to invest in renewable energy, and more.