cannabis energy electrical

Energy Remains Key To Cannabis Industry

With new regulations that could further support the booming cannabis industry, plus even more states loosening regulations in the 2020 election cycle, cannabis is ready to explode. However, it’s still the inescapable price of production that could make or break just how profitable companies will be. 

Energy is absolutely critical for a crop that’s extremely reliant on light and perfect growing conditions to meet demand. And that demand is high; cannabis was worth roughly $10 billion in 2019. That number is expected to rise consistently over the next few years, and it could come with a sizeable carbon footprint. The best data we have dates back to 2017, when the United States produced 16.4 million pounds of cannabis. That produced a staggering 1.8 million tons of carbon into the atmosphere. By 2020, the industry is putting out roughly 2.4 million tons of carbon, and that’s something that may see more taxes and penalties in the years ahead. 

That inefficiency has a big impact on the bottom line, too. Electrical demand is a large component of day-to-day expenses for most growers. Behind labor, it’s the biggest operating cost for growers. Much of that is due to the plant’s sensitive need for light. Marijuana often requires stretches of twelve hours of lighting at a time, plus the right humidity and water to grow. 

On average, indoor growers spend 262 kilowatts per hour per square foot. One gram of flowering plant can produce a pound of carbon emissions and cost roughly 24 cents to produce, strictly in energy expenses. Outdoor growers see numbers half of indoor, but it’s still a big dent in the company budget. 

That big footprint can have an impact on the communities growers live and work in. To fight an oversized draw on the grid, some municipalities are putting caps on the number of electricity growers can use, typically around 36 kWh per square foot. Cities in Massachusetts, Illinois, and part of Canada already have this type of legislation on the books, and as the industry grows into new regions and states, those same rules may find traction at the state or even federal level to create an even playing field and protect the environment. 

At present, just 6% of the electricity used in cannabis production can be traced to sustainable energy sources like wind and solar. The vast majority use coal and natural gas, especially in North America. Individual growers are looking at ways to include renewable technologies, more efficient lighting fixtures, and energy storage to lower costs and increase margins as they grow. 

If you’re ready to take a closer look at how you can improve your energy environment and save the planet in the process, we’re one of the most experienced companies in improving efficiency for cannabis growers. Learn more and contact us today!

Keen Joins National Cancer Prevention Workshop in Washington D. C

Standing in front of a solemn history of our nation is humbling. There can be nothing casual about walking through the Library of Congress, climbing the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. If there is a Congressperson or leader who can see the site of the Capitol Building without feeling small, no matter how mighty they may be, they have lost a very important sense of perspective. Continue reading “Keen Joins National Cancer Prevention Workshop in Washington D. C”

Start Smart, Grow Smart: Investing In Your Cannabis Facility

What’s the most expensive and wasteful investment to make? One you have to make twice. For marijuana growers, starting their sustainability and energy efficiency efforts the right way from the start is a key component to being competitive in an ever-tightening industry. 

The basic laws of supply and demand have played out in textbook fashion in the still young legal marijuana business. As more states enact legislation to legalize cannabis, supply us skyrocketed, causing prices to drop. And drop. And drop. The well-cushioned margins of Day One were nice, but enjoyed only by those firms already up and running. Today, many of those companies are feeling the pinch, and it’s not just from outside competition. These companies’ biggest battle comes from inside their facilities, where inefficient lighting and HVAC systems have kept production costs high and prices have slipped. 

Those firms are quickly implementing new, more efficient systems to battle the problems arising from lower prices. In an industry that sees so many factors and influences outside of their control, like legislation, banking restrictions, and limited licensing opportunities, production costs are often the one area firms can address head-on. 

As the old guard upgrade, newer producers have learned those same lessons and taken them to heart. Growers in the past 12-18 months quickly realized that the only smart way to address margin concerns over the long run is by making smart investments in fixtures and equipment right now. There are many lessons to learn for utilities, too. For instance, 4% of Denver’s energy demand comes from marijuana growers. With demand expected to more than double by 2023, both consumers and producers need to implement new ideas, new sources, and new standards to handle the load. 

We’re working with growers to make their facilities as energy efficient as possible, plugging in innovative techniques to make the most out of heat byproducts, recycle humidity, and make each light fixture do more with less. Technology learns and adapts, empowering business owners to take data in real-time and make better decisions in their energy usage and get the most out of each crop. 

Ready to grow? Let’s get after it!

Grid-Scale Energy Storage Expected To Increase 35%

When we’re talking about energy storage, we’re talking about growth. For decades, businesses and municipalities balked at the idea of sustainability and alternative energy under the false fear of cost. Renewables are no longer inefficient, expensive, or too complicated for a facility or utility to incorporate into what is already in place. 

Energy storage is coming, and it isn’t just coming to small-scale applications, either. A recent report found that grid-scale energy storage is forecasted to grow, and grow fast. By 2028, experts believe energy storage will increase by as much as 35%. That would put its capacity at a whopping 22,909 kWh. 

Two big factors in this growth pattern come down to technologically improvements in solar power and the energy storage batteries themselves. Providing more efficient solar panels paired with batteries that can adjust to even dynamic load changes mean that the gradual move to a more decentralized energy grid is picked up pace. Energy won’t move in a single direction on these new grids, either. Instead, energy will flow to where demand is, moving from energy production and storage facilities no matter where they are on the grid. 

As we’ve noted before, all of us will play a role in this new “energy cloud”. From our phones to our cars to hour homes to our businesses, we’ll all be a part of what is essentially a push-and-pull to meet the dynamic energy needs of the connected consumers. 

Energy storage at every level will be crucial, and the grid-level capacity needed to make these smarter, more sustainable grid really work is on the way. 

For more on this, head here. To learn how to shape your own microgrid in any industry, contact Keen today.