2 comments to “Most States Legalizing Pot Growing Have Yet to Grapple with Power Demand”

  1. Beau R Whitney

    JB: Good input. New Frontier Data is teaming up with Resource innovation institute to refresh the energy survey and add other issues like water consumption in our analysis. We should talk more off line.

    Beau Whitney, Economist.

  2. JB

    I am an indoor cultivator (CA) and am totally immersed in efforts to reduce energy usage.

    Two points:

    1: In certain circumstances, regulations are needed to keep companies from reducing their costs at the expense of the environment (say, dumping waste chemicals into streams). Energy usage in cannabis cultivation is different in that the problem will largely solve itself over a fairly short time frame. In this case, the fastest way to reduce production costs is also favorable for the environment — use less energy.

    Those of us who are finding ways to dramatically reduce energy use (and thus production costs) will/are driving the entire market to do the same. Grow operations pounding the cultivation environment with AC and mechanical dehumidification methods simply will get snuffed by market pressures. Through careful environment selection and use I can produce a lb of product using only about a third of the energy that most of my competitors use. As these methods spread, the market will take care of the rest. Ops will save this money or be forced out of business trying to sell product below their costs.

    For and example, see the mass exodus from the Denver area to downstate CO (Pueblo, etc) where energy costs and thus production costs are falling. The currently silliness of dumping carbon powered AC into Palm Springs area infernos well over 100 degrees for months on end will soon result in the death of that business model and an accompanying reduction in industry carbon footprint. We are moving from Cathedral City ($300 per lb energy costs) to an area where are energy use is a third of that to get ahead of that curve. Adapt or die.

    2: The watt/canopy limit route that Mass and Illinois have taken is totally pointless (though their requirement for LEDs is excellent). If their watt/canopy theory were correct, why not cut the limit in half again and save TWICE as much energy? — because it doesn’t work that way. The absolute analogy would be to limit the wattage of a clothes dryer to half, only to find it means you have to run it twice as long to get the clothes dry. If you limit watt/canopy below max plant efficiency levels, one simply has to have more SF of canopy to get the same production – or grow the plant longer, both of which put you back in the same place. It’s kwh/lb that matters, not watts/canopy.

    The problem is usually not that there are too many watts per sf, but that these watts are being produced and used inefficiently.

    Kudos to your efforts to highlight the need for change in the industry.

Leave a comment