- The legalization of marijuana could make marijuana grow operations one of the major drivers of new electricity demand in the Pacific Northwest, according to a new report by the Northwest Power and Conservation Council (NPCC).
- Following legalization of the drug in Washington state in 2012, marijuana operations could grow electricity demand between 60 MW and 160 MW over the next 20 years, according to the report.
- There is no specific forecast in the report for demand growth in Oregon, where voters will consider marijuana legalization in November.
Growing four indoor pot plants requires the same power as 29 refrigerators, according the NPCC, and indoor growers in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana are projected to use 240 MW by 2035.
"We saw what happened in Colorado. They had a tremendous growth rate," Tom Eckman, NPCC's leader for its Power Planning Division, told the Oregonian. "These are large industrial facilities. Some of them are a million square feet in Colorado. And it's an area of growth that can ramp up pretty fast."
Marijuana production makes up an estimated 1% of all U.S. electricity consumption and a whopping 3% of California's electricity use, Utility Dive has previously reported. As the NPCC report notes, there is a clear opportunity to make marijuana grow operations more energy efficient and have less of a negative impact on the grid.