Energy Impacts of Cannabis Cultivation Workshop
● April 20, 2017: Report Resulting from the Workshop that is Discussed Below
o Read our press release on the report
On Feb. 28, 2017, from 1-5:15 p.m., the CPUC held a workshop on the energy impacts of cannabis cultivation featuring stakeholders from California and other cannabis producing states.
Cannabis is an energy intensive crop when grown indoors. Other states
have experienced an increase in electricity demand after legalizing
recreational cannabis. For example, half of load growth in Colorado is
now attributable to new cannabis cultivation. The workshop was designed
to explore opportunities for ensuring that expected load growth associated with
cannabis cultivation in California is consistent with California’s clean energy
Staff will issue a report summarizing the workshop and making recommendations
for the CPUC’s consideration.
See the agenda below.
Watch the webcast.
View the poster.
Public Utilities Commission
Energy Impacts of Cannabis Cultivation Workshop
28, 2017, 1 p.m. – 5:15 p.m.
Van Ness Ave., San Francisco
The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) is holding this
workshop to examine the increase in electricity demand that may be expected
from increased cannabis cultivation in California.
Cannabis is an energy intensive crop when grown indoors.
According to a 2012 study conducted when medical cannabis was legal in
California but recreational cannabis was still prohibited, indoor cannabis
cultivation is responsible for about 3 percent of California’s electricity
consumption, which is equivalent to the electricity consumption of 1 million
On November 9, 2016, California voters approved Proposition 64,
which legalized the recreational use of cannabis by adults. Given the
electricity use attributable to cannabis cultivation noted above, an increase
in cannabis cultivation may be a significant driver of electricity consumption
Other states have experienced an increase in electricity demand
after legalizing recreational cannabis. For example, half of load growth
in Colorado is now attributable to new cannabis cultivation.
This workshop is designed to explore the opportunities for ensuring that
expected load growth associated with cannabis cultivation in California is
consistent with California’s clean energy goals.
After the workshop, CPUC staff will issue a report summarizing the
workshop and making recommendations for the CPUC’s consideration.
NOTE: This workshop is
independent of any CPUC proceeding, and panelists are forbidden from making ex
parte comments related to open proceedings during their presentations or
1 p.m.-1:15 p.m. Welcome
& Opening Remarks – CPUC President, Michael Picker
1:15 p.m.-2:45 p.m. Panel One: Energy Impacts in
Other States After Recreational Legalization
John C. Morris,
Vice President - Market Development, D+R International; Co-Founder, Board
Secretary of the Resource Innovation Institute
Alex Cooley, Co-Founder of Solstice, National
Cannabis Industry Board Member
David Montgomery, Consulting Energy
Management Engineer, Puget Sound Energy
Jacob Policzer, President, The Cannabis
Xcel Energy (invited)
Voters in Washington and Colorado legalized recreational cannabis
in 2012, and Oregon voters legalized recreational cannabis in 2014.
Stakeholders will discuss the experience in their respective states concerning
the increase in cannabis cultivation, the increase in electricity consumption
associated with cannabis cultivation, and energy efficiency measures that have
been proposed and/or adopted. Potential questions/topics of
How much did the
electricity consumption attributable to cannabis cultivation increase after
recreational legalization? Has the load growth been steady, has it
levelled off, or have there been peaks? What are the projections for load
growth in the future?
What proportion of cannabis in your respective states is grown indoors,
outdoors, or in a greenhouse? How do electricity consumption and energy
efficiency measures differ when cannabis is grown indoors, outdoors, or in a
Please describe efforts
undertaken in your respective states to reduce the energy consumption
associated with cannabis cultivation, including, e.g., equipment upgrades, or
special tariffs. Have these efforts been compulsory, or voluntary?
What energy efficiency measures have worked, and what measures have not?
Do cannabis growers and utility companies agree on what works best?
Have the utilities and
cannabis growers experienced challenges working with each other concerning
energy efficiency measures?
How do the differences
between state and federal cannabis laws affect the ability of state governments
or utilities to engage with cannabis growers concerning energy efficiency?
Have energy efficiency
measures altered the manner in which cannabis is grown? Does the type of
bulb used by an indoor cannabis cultivation operation alter the growth cycle of
cannabis plants or the resulting concentrations of CBD and THC?
Has legalization reduced
black market cannabis cultivation? Are there any estimates on the energy
consumption associated with illegal cannabis cultivation?
In areas where
cannabis-specific rate schedules have been implemented, how responsive have
customers been in shifting electric demand?
2:45 p.m.-3 p.m. Break
3 p.m.-4:30 p.m. Panel
Two: Cannabis Cultivation in California: Challenges and Opportunities
Hezekiah Allen, Executive Director, California
Program Director, Americans for Safe Access; Board Member, California Cannabis
Nick Caston, Vice President of Public Affairs
and Policy, CannaCraft
Branch Chief at CalCannabis Cultivation Licensing, California Department of
Food and Agriculture
Cody Coeckelenbergh, Director of Program
Services, Lincus Energy
San Diego Gas & Electric (invited)
California stakeholders will discuss current and projected
in-state cannabis cultivation, the increase in electricity consumption
associated with current and projected cannabis cultivation and energy
efficiency measures that have been proposed and/or adopted. As part of
their remarks, panelists are asked to remark on whether anything they heard
regarding the experiences of utility companies and cannabis growers in other
states surprised them. In addition, panelists are asked to discuss
whether solutions and practices from other states would or would not work in
California, and why. Potential questions/topics of discussion:
What are the best
estimates concerning electricity consumption attributable to cannabis
cultivation in California? How is consumption projected to increase in
the future? Did the electricity consumption attributable to cannabis
cultivation in California increase after the legalization of medical
What proportion of
cannabis in California is grown indoors, outdoors, or in a greenhouse?
How do electricity consumption and energy efficiency measures differ in
California’s microclimates when cannabis is grown indoors, outdoors, or in a
Even prior to
recreational legalization, California was the largest cannabis producer in the
United States. Are California utilities and cannabis growers already
taking measures (including, e.g., equipment upgrades, or special tariffs) to
improve the energy efficiency of cannabis cultivation? What are these
measures? Have these measures changed in response to recreational legalization?
Are there energy
efficiency measures relevant to cannabis cultivation that have not been tried
yet in California? Are there energy efficiency measures that have been
tried and subsequently abandoned? If so, why were the measures abandoned?
Are there any barriers
to making cannabis cultivation in California more energy efficient?
Are the requirements of
Proposition 64, such as seed to sale tracking, consistent with outdoor cannabis
cultivation? Will legalization drive some current cannabis cultivation
indoors and cause an increase in electricity consumption unrelated to an
increase in cultivation?
What are the
characteristics of renewable electricity generation in California, i.e., MW
available at what times of day and year? Can cannabis cultivation support
better use of excess renewable generation in specific regions of California?
Are cannabis cultivation
operations good candidates for demand response or other distributed energy
resource programs? Does the answer depend on whether the cannabis cultivation
operation is indoors, outdoors, or in a greenhouse?
4:30 p.m.-4:45 p.m. Wrap-up
4:45 p.m.-5:15 p.m. Public Comment