Power needs of pot industry raise issues with Energy Dept.

As the state works out rules regulating recreational marijuana in Oregon, the electric power needs of indoor pot operations are raising issues for energy officials.


SALEM — As Oregon prepares for legal marijuana July 1, the state’s energy agency is looking for ways to curb electricity use by indoor pot growers.

Indoor marijuana gardens are well-known power hogs, but Oregon faces a dilemma as it researches how to extend its energy efficiency programs to the cannabis industry: federal money that typically helps pay for efficiency projects cannot be used for any activities that involve pot.

“We don’t have answers to that yet, which is why we’re looking at it so carefully,” said Rachel Wray, a spokeswoman for the Oregon Department of Energy. “It is an emerging energy issue and we pay attention to those.”

Power-hungry grow lights and ventilation systems are not just an environmental issue.

Small, consumer-owned utilities...

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