Renewable Energy

Legalization Of Marijuana Is Impacting Power Consumption – And Not The Way You Expected

By August 15, 2017 October 29th, 2019 No Comments

How’s this for an unintended side effect of so many states legalizing the sale and consumption of marijuana? A dip in power consumption.

While many thought that marijuana legalization would overwhelm the power grid, and we did see a spike in demand when states first legalized it, demand is leveling off for a totally unforeseen reason: more growers are taking their crops outside.

Yep, now that farmers no longer have to keep their crops hidden, they are taking them outside or setting up greenhouses when possible. There’s also more investment in energy efficient lighting, heating, pumps, and cooling systems now that there is nothing to hide.

All of this adds up to less demand on the power grid than anticipated and a boost for several different industries that manufacture systems and equipment used by marijuana growers. Energy companies, however, may be singing a different tune – after all, there’s money to be made from an industry that is as power hungry as marijuana farming.

Ways To Boost Efficiency Of Indoor Farms

Some states don’t allow farmers to grow marijuana outside just yet but that doesn’t mean those farmers can’t take step to rein in their operating costs. Indoor marijuana farms can ease their reliance on the local grid by:

  • Investing in high-efficiency LED lighting. Not only do you save on energy consumed by the bulbs, they give off less heat that has to be drawn away from the plants.
  • Increasing access to natural sunlight such as through skylights.
  • Adding an on-site generator to provide on-demand, off-grid power.
  • Install on-site solar panels to offset demand for grid power.
  • Take advantage of grants and financial assistance. Some states, like Oregon, are offering incentives to marijuana growers who install energy efficient measures.

We’re certain as more and more states legalize marijuana, farmers being to network, and the industry comes out into the open, more ideas, methods, and best practices for optimizing power consumption will emerge. With marijuana, it seems, there is always a surprise around the corner.