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New 'Cannabis Energy Report' Promotes Cultivation Efficiencies, Cost Savings

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By J.J. McCoy, Senior Managing Editor, for New Frontier Data

In the forthcoming Cannabis Energy Report, New Frontier Data has joined both Scale MicroGrid Solutions and the Resource Innovation Institute to provide a landmark, comprehensive study about energy usage and carbon emissions throughout the cultivation cycles of cannabis. The study examines North American cultivators' and operators' overall energy consumption, and provides operational insights and cost indicators to assess both the fundamental efficiency and profitability of a grow operation.

The inspiration for the report — available free of cost — is to drive new and effective efficiencies throughout the cannabis industry, toward benefits for companies, stakeholders, and consumers alike. Identifying efficiencies will lower operating costs (doubly important insofar as legal cannabis operators compete not only with each other, but with operators in the illicit market), drive price commoditization, identify efficiencies to reduce energy consumption and environmental impacts, and provide competitive advantages as the market matures.

Previously, "investors haven't really had a means to finding the efficiency," explained Duncan Campbell, Scale MicroGrid Solutions' vice president of development. "That's true not just for investors, but also operators – how do they know whether they're doing a good job? It's the second-largest cost in their operation. Hopefully [the report] is a starting point for gathering that information."

The cannabis industry is on the cusp of some major technology advancements in agriculture, notes Beau Whitney, senior economist at New Frontier Data. "Whereas in the beginning of the legalized cannabis industry, operators were relying on techniques and technology borrowed from agroecological practices of other products. Yet, we are starting to see this change, and finding an opportunity for the cannabis industry to lend its technology, knowledge, and practices to other indoor, controlled-environment cultivation sectors."

The Cannabis Energy Report relies on data aggregated by Resource Innovation Institute's Cannabis PowerScore tool. The online application collects self-reported operational data and cultivation characteristics (annual production, annual electricity consumption, canopy area, cultivation type, lighting type, etc.) through which participants benefit by seeing their energy ranking in real time relative to the rest of the dataset.

Working for a distributed energy company specializing in commercial and industrial energy projects, Campbell said that his biggest surprise in working with the cannabis industry was realizing how energy needs differ between fully indoor, greenhouse, and outdoor facilities, respectively.

"Generally, it's thought that indoor by far is the most expensive [operation], outdoor the least expensive, and greenhouse about ¾ of the way to outdoor," he said. "What the data shows is that greenhouses are a lot closer to being indoor than they are to being outdoor, which is kind of a big deal. Yes, it is better, it uses less energy, but it's closer to an indoor grow, and by a lot. Related to that point, with consideration to electricity use (there is also the consideration of natural gas, which we aim to include in the next phase of the report), we will see whether that pushes cultivators into outdoor use."

Register here to reserve a copy of the new report (while supplies last).

J.J. McCoy, New Frontier Data Senior Managing Editor
J.J. McCoy, New Frontier Data Senior Managing Editor

J.J. McCoy

J.J. McCoy is Senior Managing Editor for New Frontier Data. A former staff writer for The Washington Post, he is a career journalist having covered emerging technologies among industries including aviation, satellites, transportation, law enforcement, the Smart Grid and professional sports. He has reported from the White House, the U.S. Senate, three continents and counting.

The post New ‘Cannabis Energy Report' Promotes Cultivation Efficiencies, Cost Savings appeared first on New Frontier.

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