Everything is bigger in Texas, and when it comes to winter storms, mid-February is going to be remembered as one of the biggest failures in energy distribution on the record. But no, it wasn’t frozen wind turbines that caused problems. Continue reading “No, Frozen Wind Turbines Didn’t Cause The Texas Power Outage”
We’ve made the pun plenty of times, but the reality is simply too strong to ignore. Cannabis is a growing industry, and companies across the United States are learning that their energy news isn’t just substantial, but often prohibitive.
As big as cannabis is right now, we’re only scratching the surface of its true potential. Experts predict it to be a $47 billion industry by 2025. At the start of 2020, recreational marijuana use is legal in 11 states, while 33 states have medical marijuana laws firmly on the books. Recent local and state elections, too, indicate that more legalization is on the way, and the support of politicians at the federal level points to nation-wide legalization sooner rather than later.
That astronomical growth comes in spite of many hurdles placed in front of young businesses. From inconsistent and changing regulations from county-to-county and state-to-state to variable access to investment, to supply chain and distribution issues, it hasn’t been smooth sailing for many growers. Perhaps one of the biggest challenges is energy.
The electrical impact of marijuana cultivation is massive. Producing one pound of cannabis produces requires roughly 2,000 kWh, which is the equivalent of two and a half months of energy consumption by a normal household. That’s big. Multiply that to industrial-levels of production in facilities that can fill thousands of square feet and you can begin to see just how much strain cannabis could put on the grid. In fact, marijuana caused seven blackouts in California alone back in 2015.
The demand is high now, but it’s only expected to grow. Canada, for example, expects cannabis power consumption to increase by 1,250% between 2020 and 2024. That would make cannabis production alone a total of 1% of the country’s entire energy market.
Not only is it massive, but the source of that huge energy draw is also primarily fossil fuels. With a rise in demand will come a rise in pollution just as the world looks to drastically reduce its carbon footprint to fight climate change. By waiting for governments to shift grid-scale electrical production to renewable sources, the world might be putting a nail in its own coffin.
Instead, growers are investing in themselves to incorporate renewable energy created from wind and solar, as well as integrated energy storage systems to offer flexibility. Retrofitting isn’t a viable option; many growers say the expense of trying to work with older lighting and irrigation systems isn’t cost-effective, and replacing the whole set-up makes more financial sense.
Lighting is a huge element to both a healthy crop and to energy efficiency. With the switch flipped on between 18 and 20 hours a day, light fixtures account for approximately 70% of electricity consumption. We’ve been working with growers to create smart, dynamic systems that use the most efficient materials and intelligent automation to control climate. If over two-thirds of consumption comes from a single source, it’s where we can make the biggest difference.
We’re working with growers across the state and around the country to implement the sort of systems that will keep companies competitive, sustainable, and comfortably within the patchwork of local guidelines. Getting started? Start with a call to Keen Technical Solutions.
In a recent call with a client, we heard a facilities manager dismiss a move to create their own microgrid. The technology was there, the interest was there, the plan was there, but he was still nervous. He didn’t want to be ‘on an island’. Continue reading “An Island With A Bridge: Microgrids Plug Into Utilities”
Renewable energy is up across the county. In our home state of Michigan, that’s no different. Renewables are playing a leading role in reducing emissions and increasing efficiency like never before.
An end-of-year study confirmed what we’ve long known to be true. Sustainable, responsible energy is on the rise, and it’s offering an exciting glimpse at what’s possible. Renewable energy is up by a whopping 57% over the previous calendar year, and in 2020, that number could rise even further. That report, conducted by the Michigan Public Service Commission, confirmed that these innovative energy production avenues have increased every year since 2006. Renewables now account for nearly 45,000 kWh in the state, up 46% since 2017.
Of those alternative energy sources, solar energy remains the top producer in the state of Michigan by some margin. It’s responsible for 94% of renewable energy sources, with wind power a very, very distant second place. It might also be worth noting that just two companies, DTE Energy and Consumers Energy, account for a massive 88% of all alternative energy production. There are renewable energy projects in every single Michigan county, except one. Only Luce County in the Upper Peninsula lacks a renewable energy project as of the time of this study’s publication.
The state has a long road ahead to eliminate fossil fuels. According to the state’s annual report, 10% of energy came from renewable sources in 2015. Only about 1% of the state’s energy needs are met by solar, while the state is offering up some encouraging results from wind. Michigan ranks 14th in wind power potential, which currently accounts for 93% of our current alternative energy capacity.
We’re proud to be playing a part in bringing Michigan communities and companies into a more sustainable way of life. By improving energy use today, we’re preparing companies from across industries to plug into the new technologies and opportunities that are right around the corner. Keen can help companies save tens of thousands of dollars per year right now, and that’s only the tip of what technology and innovation will offer tomorrow.
Want an expert look at how your facility can save money and increase efficiency? Schedule a comprehensive energy audit today.
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.