Barbara Vergetis Lundin provides an interesting article on the Fierce Energy website on the need to improve the energy efficiency of cannabis operations in the US. The consumption can put a strain on the grid.
Bringing energy efficiency to cannabis operations
In the midst of a shakeup surrounding the legal status of marijuana, the United States is grappling with serious and complex issues related to the intense energy drain that legal grow house operations put on the electricity grid, according to Manifest Mind who recently introduced research on the subject.
According to the Manifest Mind report (by Evan Mills of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory), residential dwellings that grow cannabis often use 10 times the amount of energy as an average home, while warehouse operations may use as much energy as an industrial-scale data center. These huge amounts of energy consumption can place a real strain on the grid. However, legalization of marijuana can actually reduce the demands placed on the grid, as growers can take advantage of energy efficiency products and services for their now legal operations.
“Cannabis growers are historically risk averse, but that doesn’t make them inherently opposed to trying new things; they just need some assurance that their livelihood isn’t going to be jeopardized if they decide to make a change to the way they run their facilities,” said Bryan Jungers, principal researcher for the report. “Growers need assurance that utilities that are offering them energy efficiency programs understand how to deliver results without negatively impacting their cultivation operations.”
There are many technology solutions that can mitigate grow house energy demand that were not available under the specter of criminalized growing operations. But while there has been some effort to reduce grow house demand, there is a lack of orchestrated effort from policymakers to comprehensively address the issue.
“Legalized growing currently represents unchecked energy growth. Policymakers must treat the cannabis industry as any other high-intensity customer segment,” said Carol Stimmel, founder and CEO of Manifest Mind. “If we can bring energy efficiency to growers, then legalization will improve the energy-use scenario for cannabis growing, not worsen it.”