As Denver’s marijuana industry grows, so does its power needs. CPR News has obtained new data from Denver’s Department of Public Health and Environment that shows the energy-hungry plants soak up nearly four percent of the city’s total electricity use.
“It’s significant,” said Emily Backus, sustainability advisor for the department. Marijuana’s share of the energy pie is “growing overall at a much faster rate than the overall energy use in the city,” which has increased one to two percent in recent years.
There’s good news in the data: the amount of energy used per pound of marijuana grown is on the decline. The challenge is that the growing demand for marijuana is prompting facilities to produce more and more plants.
“It actually means that they’re becoming more efficient in their facilities,” she said, and yet the energy use trajectory continues to plot upward for the industry.