The cannabis industry’s energy problem

The cannabis industry’s energy problem

Reducing energy use is an economic and environmental imperative for cultivators. As legalization proliferates across the United States, the cannabis industry’s rapid growth is forcing a reckoning with its environmental impact and how to reduce the resource consumption and waste that accompany commercial operations and products. Of particular concern to environmentalists and industry veterans is how to better manage the energy use required by cultivation facilities. According to some experts, the industry already accounts for more than 1 percent of all U.S. electricity consumption, and that percentage continues to rise as the industry expands.

The challenge of energy overconsumption is very real and can be attributed, at least partially, to the disjointed nature of the U.S. industry, where federal law prohibits interstate commerce. This means the plant must be grown not only in hospitable climates, but also in areas with unfavorable growing conditions. As a result, indoor cultivation has become the norm. Currently, 80 percent of cannabis from legal U.S. markets is cultivated indoors using sophisticated lighting and environmental controls designed to maximize the plant’s yield. These systems can consume up to 2,000 watts of electricity per square meter, about forty times the energy needed to grow leafy greens like lettuce indoors.

There is no question the current level of energy consumption is unsustainable. As evidence, look at California’s recent announcement that the state is offering cultivators rebates of 100 percent or more when they switch to energy-efficient light-emitting diodes (LEDs). The rebates are part of an emergency measure called the Market Access Program, which was signed by Governor Gavin Newsom to reduce stress on California’s electrical grid. According to state officials, a reduction in energy consumption is necessary to contain rolling blackouts that could cripple the state’s economy. This urgent request for “grid relief” is a glimpse into the future of the entire country if industry practices do not change.

Continue reading.

Image by jannoon028 on Freepik



Hortibiz Newsradio
Tune in!

Hortibiz Newsradio

24/7 news and information

Stay up to date with Hortibiz Daily News.
Subscribe to Hortibiz Daily News!

Stay up to date with Hortibiz Daily News.

Horticultural news, market insights and technology

Career at Holland Hortimedia?

Career at
Holland Hortimedia?

Content manager m/f – Sales manager m/f

Ads from

Today on Hortibiz Newsradio, listen back to podcasts!