As many indoor cultivators know, one of the weed grower’s biggest expenses and liabilities is the power they use. Light and heat can for only a square foot of cannabis cultivation can pull roughly 200 watts of electricity, about the same amount as a data center. So a big grow house uses a whole lot of juice. The heat register from such extravagant power usage has gotten growers caught on more than one occasion by law enforcement officials using heat sensor cameras.
But now some scientific researching folks have put some data together to show that US marijuana producers are using as much as $6 billion in electricity per year, according to findings published in the Columbia Journal of Environmental Law and reported recently by Quartz. And that figure could grow to $11 billion if the whole nation legalizes, according to High Country News.
Though the projected $11 billion mark is high, both for communities that might be stretched thin to supply that power and growers who might balk at the sky-high utility bills, coming regulation may hopefully bring a systemic solution, bringing about energy-saving methods to keep up with America’s growing demand for cannabis without drastically changing the nation’s power usage.
Power outages due to cultivation have already been reported in Oregon and the issue of power regulation was addressed at the National Association of Regulator Utility Commissioners in a session called “The Straight Dope on Energy & the Marijuana Industry.”
“As regulators,” Willie Phillips, a member of the District of Columbia Public Utility Commission, said at the summit. “We can sit back on our hands and be reactionary or think outside the box and see what we can do to achieve our goals” for energy emissions and use.