US: As legal weed sucks up energy, an industry searches for solutions

Growing pot commercially and indoors is a delicate balancing act. The quality of the harvest depends on a grower’s ability to get just the right heat, the perfect amount of light, and the exact humidity. The right combination results in the highest-quality pot being grown in the most cost-efficient way. Too much or too little of any one of those elements, on the other hand, can mean lower-quality pot that costs more.

All that balancing takes lots and lots of electricity. And with Washington’s recreational marijuana industry in full blossom, the power drain has become noticeable to both growers and those overseeing the Northwest electric grid.

When marijuana was illegal, power concerns were virtually nonexistent. But now, figures are being collected and crunched publicly—with everyone trying to figure out what they really mean.

The Northwest Power and Conservation Council—which supervises power issues in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana—estimates that between 0.75 percent and 0.96 percent of the electricity used in Washington goes to marijuana operations.

Read more at Seattle Weekly (John Stang)

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