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Energy Newsbriefs Blog

This current awareness service is prepared by the WSU Energy Program Library with funding from the U.S. Department of Energy State Energy Program. This information is provided for energy professionals and interested members of the public to highlight recent energy-related news, articles, and reports that discuss energy efficiency, energy conservation, and renewable sources of energy in engineering and policy circles.


Category: Agriculture


Pot Power: How Utilities and Regulators are Dealing with the Budding Marijuana Industry

Utility Dive, Nov. 13, 2015, by Gavin Bade.

"Marijuana growing is becoming so mainstream — and is consuming so much energy — that electric utilities and their regulators from coast to coast are sitting up and taking notice."

Marijuana Grow Houses Trigger 7 Summer Outages for Pacific Power

Utility Dive, Nov. 6, 2015, by Robert Walton.

"Pacific Power is urging would-be home growers to consult with the utility before starting up their marijuana operations, same as they should any time a customer intends to significantly increase their power load."

Harvesting Energy Savings in Cannabis Cultivation Facilities: Quick Wins for Cultivators and Utilities

E Source, Sep. 11, 2015, by David Podorson.

"With the recent legalization of cannabis in some states, cultivation facilities have rushed to increase production and gain market share, and they have often overlooked energy considerations in the process. Indoor cannabis cultivation facilities are huge energy consumers with year-round loads; each marijuana plant consumes more energy than seven refrigerators, and each cultivation facility may contain up to 400 plants.... Here we present nine tips for quickly and easily reducing the energy consumption of these facilities."

Addressing the Energy-Intensive Marijuana Industry in Oregon

Energy Efficiency Markets, July 28, 2015, by Lisa Cohn.

"With recreational marijuana now legal in the state of Oregon, there’s growing interest in how to address the energy-intensive marijuana industry. Until the state works out the details of a law — effective July 1 — legalizing recreational marijuana, it is now only legal to grow medical marijuana in Oregon.  But there’s concern that once the industry gears up later this year, the growers will draw large amounts of energy. In fact, an article in a Portland paper, the Portland Business Journal, asked, 'Is it Time for LEED Weed?'"

Green Doesn’t Mean What it Used To in Today’s Utility Industry: How Utilities are Dealing with Legalized Marijuana

Northwest Public Power Association Bulletin, July 2015, by Lance Robertson. (Scroll of jump to page 26.)

"Utilities are looking at a number of issues, concerns, and opportunities, from the amount of electricity the cannabis industry uses to ensuring that the added power demand won’t reduce the reliability or safety of localized electric distribution systems. Many public utilities also are concerned that increased demand for electricity will force them to raise electric rates for all customers, while a handful of utilities see the emerging commercial cannabis industry as an opportunity to boost revenues lost due to the lingering effects of the Great Recession in the Pacific Northwest."

USDA Announces Restart of Biomass Crop Assistance Program for Renewable Energy

U.S. Department of Agriculture News Release, June 1, 2015.

"The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced that incentives will resume this summer for farmers, ranchers and forest landowners interested in growing and harvesting biomass for renewable energy. The support comes through the Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP), which was reauthorized by the 2014 Farm Bill. BCAP provides financial assistance to establish and maintain new crops of energy biomass, or who harvest and deliver forest or agricultural residues to a qualifying energy facility."

This Vertical Farm Will Provide Wyoming Residents with 100,000 lbs of Fresh Produce Each Year

Inhabit, Mar. 9, 2015, by Charley Cameron.

"A 30 foot by 150 foot sliver of land located next to a parking lot in Jackson, Wyoming is set to be transformed into a vertical farm that will produce up to 100,000 lbs of produce each year. Using 90 percent less water than conventional farming, and absolutely no pesticides, the three-story Vertical Harvest greenhouse will enable the cold, land-locked city to provide locally-grown produce for its residents all year round."

New Poultry Barn Ventilation System

Manure Manager, Jan./Feb. 2015, by Lilian Schaer

"An innovative minimum ventilation system for poultry barns is improving bird health and reducing energy costs for farmers in the process."

Energy Trust [OR] Lends a Hand with Irrigation Efficiency

Capital Press, Feb. 9, 2015, by Lacey Jarrell.

"More consistent water application [using variable frequency drives] can mean greater water and power savings for large- or small-scale farmers."

Building Sustainable Farms, Ranches and Communities: A Guide to Federal Programs....

U.S. Department of Agriculture and various other organizations, Oct. 2014.

"This guide is written for anyone seeking help from federal programs to foster sustainable and innovative initiatives in this country associated with agriculture and forestry. Sustainability is commonly understood to embrace the triple concepts of economic, environmental and social viability. Specifically, the guide provides information about program resources pertaining to economic development, farm loans, insurance and risk management, natural resources conservation and management; nutrition and consumer food access, renewable energy and energy conservation, research and outreach, and value added and marketing innovations."

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