Energy consumption, one of the biggest challenges of the cannabis industry

Like every major industry, the cannabis industry has its fair share of challenges and problems. The biggest, from a technical perspective, being energy consumption. The confounding truth is that the business of growing cannabis is anything but green.

Energy Consumption
The billion-dollar industry is proportionally one of the most energy-intensive in the world, frequently demanding an array of 24-hour high-energy lighting, heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems, and fans at multiple growing sites. Back in 2016, after the state of Oregon legalized recreational cannabis, Pacific Power in Portland recorded seven blackouts that the company traced to cannabis production. Roughly 45% of Denver, Colorado’s increase in energy demand or “load growth” is directly linked to electricity that goes to power cannabis growth. The electricity consumption of cannabis grow houses is staggering when compared to the average business, restaurant or residential unit. According to the Northwest Power and Conservation Council (NPCC), indoor commercial cannabis production can consume 2,000 to 3,000-kilowatt hours (kWh) of energy per pound of product; resulting in electricity costs representing ~20-40% of the total cost of cannabis production.

As the cannabis industry grows, solutions to the energy problem are rapidly becoming the distinguishing difference between successful companies and those struggling to make ends meet. Many options have been proposed and are currently being implemented into grow operations worldwide, with Renewable Energy considered to be the best solution moving forward.


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