Budding Midwest marijuana industry could send energy use sky-high

But energy efficiency measures could blunt the impact.

Recreational marijuana recently became legal in Illinois and Michigan. But for cannabis plants to thrive year-round in the Midwest, they must be grown indoors. So as the industry expands, its energy use could easily get, well, pretty high.

“Lighting is one of the largest energy uses of an indoor cultivation facility, followed closely by heating and cooling and then dehumidification,” says Molly Graham of the Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance.

She says using a lot of energy is bad for the climate and business.

“We’ve seen that energy can make up a third or more of the operating cost of a cannabis facility, which is huge. It’s a huge operating cost,” she says.

Listen in to the full Yale Climate Connections podcast.

>> If you're interested in learning more about the growing cannabis industry and its energy implications, feel free to view our fact sheet, "Going Green While Growing Green," watch our webinar recording on what Midwest utilities can learn from early adopters or peruse more news: