elle sagenev wrote:This article popped up while researching something for work and it blew my mind. grow houses blowing transformers. 45% of Denver, CO's new energy use is from MJ growers. Maybe this blows my mind so much because I am already in an energy unstable area. Our power goes out fairly frequently. I cannot imagine what would happen to our power grid if MJ growing was legal here. I do not think it could handle the increased use.
This triggered my spidey sense as a misleading metric so I dug in a bit:
These articles are from 2015, which is the first year it was legal to grow marijuana in Colorado (recreational sales were first allowed jan 1, 2014 and permits to build grow houses went out that year too, and electricity use reports are a year behind). So this growth seems staggering, except it was mostly a one-time hit from building an entire industry from scratch
While increased population has been responsible for most of Denver's 1.2% annual power demand growth, roughly 45% of it comes from pot growing facilities.
So that 45% is kind of a weird number. A more realistic headline would be Denver's power demand grows 0.6% from MJ growers
. A little less sensational, unfortunately.
Estimate from that article is that MJ growing consumes 200 million kWh/yr. According to Colorado
, the state uses 56,450,480 megawatt-hours/yr. That puts MJ use at 0.35% of the state's total electricity use. For a reference point: about 10% of Colorado's total electricity is used just for residential heating
. So if we could improve residential heating by 3%, it would nullify all electricity used by grow houses.
Now is it silly to force indoor growing of a plant that would otherwise grow great in a greenhouse / outdoor? Yes. Am I terribly concerned about a electric source using 0.35%? Not in the least. Especially in a state where about 75% of electric production comes from coal an natrual gas.