The Cannabis Industry Energy Challenge

November 4-5, 2019, Anaheim CA

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This conference will explore the impact and consequences on electricity consumption and power operations of the rapidly growing cannabis industry in the United States. It will focus on evaluating key considerations and planning needs that electric utilities must confront when operating in a market for legal or recreational marijuana grows.



8:00 – 8:30 a.m. :: Registration & Continental Breakfast

8:30 – 9:45 a.m. :: The Cannabis Industry Energy Challenge – Understanding the Magnitude & Impacts on the System

  • Industry size and projected growth in legal marijuana sales
  • National cannabis electricity consumption
  • Cannabis’s “carbon footprint conundrum”
  • The projected trends for growing style — greenhouse, indoor and outdoor
  • Properly assessing grid impacts of legal grows — challenges for electric utilities
    • Power system implications
    • Load forecasting
    • Reliability
  • Data challenges and barriers to information sharing, best practices and collaboration
  • Utility incentive payments to growers, financing and the law
  • Cultural and social challenges
    • Benchmarking and disclosure
    • Product labeling
  • Energy challenges for marijuana industry
    • High cost of capital
    • Utility inexperience

Derek Smith, Executive Director, Resource Innovation Institute (RII)

John Morris, Vice President – Market Development, D+R International

10:00 – 11:45 a.m. :: Marijuana Cultivation, Energy Consumption and Sustainability 101: Indoor, Greenhouse, Outdoor Grows

  • The complexity of the cannabis plant and its energy needs for growth
  • Cultivation factors
  • Equipment overview
  • Energy use factors
    • Grow style and grow medium
    • Strain differentiation – indica sativa
  • Indoor
  • Greenhouse
  • Outdoor
  • Marijuana growth cycle and technology/energy requirements
    • Veg
    • Clone
    • Flowering
  • Clean energy and sustainable solutions for cultivation
  • Best energy usage and water management practices
  • Evaluating practices and pathways to make the cannabis industry more environmentally viable
  • Developing sustainable standards and practices for both indoor and outdoor certification
  • Enabling siting policies for greenhouse growing facilities — is this a viable path?

Jacob Policzer, Director of Science and Strategy, The Cannabis Conservancy

11:45 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. :: Group Luncheon

1:00 – 2:00 p.m. :: Regulatory and Legal Update on Cannabis Industry Relevant to Electric Utilities

  • Status of state and federal law with respect to cannabis
  • Legal, regulatory considerations for utilities establishing business relationships with marijuana growers
  • What utilities need to know and track — tips for navigating the ever-changing marijuana legal landscape and their impacts to their marijuana business partners
  • Ensuring compliance for operations, land use, zoning, and environmental issues
  • Potential utility liability for providing service
  • Legal obligation to serve
  • Power theft issues and considerations
  • Utility legal obligations around cash management
  • Special contract provisions to manage particular physical, financial and legal risks
  • Special rates and policy concerns for high density loads
  • Challenges with potential stranded assets
  • California specific issues

Richard Lorenz, Partner, Cable Huston

2:00 – 2:45 p.m. :: California Energy Requirements, Equipment Standards & Building Codes Applicable to the Cannabis Industry

  • California Energy Commission (CEC) regulation process – how are regulations created?
  • CEC standards on LED lighting standards
  • CEC appliance standards on fans and blowers for indoor horticulture
  • CEC standards for cannabis grow equipment
    • Lighting, venting, de-humidification
  • Other technologies being looked at
  • How are agricultural buildings regulated by the Energy Code?
  • Possible other regulations/future developments that could impact cannabis
    • Renewables
    • Upcoming California commercial building efficiency standards

Thao Chau, Electrical Engineer – Building Standards Office of the Efficiency Division, California Energy Commission (CEC) Representative (invited)

3:00 – 3:45 p.m. :: Cannabis Extraction & Manufacturing: Energy Consumption & Efficiency Solutions

  • The future of cannabis manufacturing: market growth projections for nutraceuticals & pharmaceuticals
  • Overview of cannabis concentrate products & their differing equipment and resource needs
  • Overview of equipment and associated energy consumption
    • Manufacturing equipment utilized
    • Support equipment
    • Ancillary production equipment
  • Energy management strategies & solutions for cannabis manufacturing
    • US manufacturing energy consumption
    • Current practices for energy efficiency in manufacturing
    • Recommendations for HVAC, lighting & building materials
  • Opportunities for biofuels: energy production from cannabis & hemp biomass

Saman Razani, Founding Partner/COO, Lost Horse Supply

3:45 – 4:30 p.m. :: Utility Case Study: Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD)

  • Managing 300+ cannabis business entities in SMUD’s territory
    • Helping customers navigate energy landscape to save time, energy and money
    • Ensuring cannabis customers’ electricity needs and managing electrical service upgrades
  • Engaging & collaborating with cannabis cultivation customers – indoor growing operations
    • Incentives and financing options that encourage investment in energy efficiency
    • Efficiency options for lighting, HVAC, & additional load
    • What the industry looks like on the grid
  • SMUD R&D test results – energy efficient practices for indoor cultivation
    • LED vs. HPS lighting – impact on quality and quantity of cannabis product
    • Financial cost savings to customer
    • Is technology viable for application?
  • Managing the energy footprint of cannabis extraction customers in SMUD’s territory
    • Product overview – oils, edibles, topicals, vape pen solvents
    • Energy intensity of cannabis extraction & efficiency solutions

Matt McGregor, Strategic Account Advisor – Cannabis Operations, Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD)

4:30 – 5:00 p.m. :: Optimizing Utility Engagement & Operational Practices with Cannabis Customers

  • Why should utilities care about this market?
  • Seattle City Light: overview and lessons learned with cannabis industry engagement
  • Efforts to engage power industry collaboration regionally and nationally to facilitate best practices
  • Best practices & considerations for utilities:
    • Pragmatic ways to engage with the cannabis industry
    • Learning from existing mechanisms, data & case studies
    • Ensuring high quality customer service to important new industrial customers
  • Considerations for utility energy efficiency programs for cannabis customers
    • Different ways to structure programs
    • Technical requirements
  • Moving forward in a positive direction
    • How utilities can best operate in the cannabis industry space

John Arthur Wilson, Stakeholder Solutions Manager – Lighting Design Lab, City of Seattle

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

8:00 – 8:30 a.m. :: Continental Breakfast

8:30 – 9:15 a.m. :: Utility Case Study: Southern California Edison (SCE)

  • Managing and working with cannabis business customers in SCE’s territory
  • Working to provide adequate power to cannabis customers
    • Customer outreach & collaboration strategies
    • Collaborating with cannabis industry on energy efficiency issues
    • Engineering & design solutions for lighting & HVAC
  • Load forecasting practices for cannabis cultivation facilities
  • Working through the challenges:
    • Cannabis legalization – an unforeseen wrench in SCE’s 10-year planning process
    • Tremendous unforeseen load growth in SCE’s territory
    • Lengthy regulatory approval timelines for new SCE programs with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC)
    • Lack of infrastructure to provide to communities where load is increasing substantially
  • Solutions to move forward
    • Improving communications between communities, growers and the power industry in the planning phases

Gary Corlett, Energy Analysis & Customer Outreach – Business Customer Division, Southern California Edison

9:15 – 10:00 a.m. :: Design Lights Consortium’s Horticultural Lighting Specification:  Implications & Moving Forward

Design Lights Consortium (DLC) is a non-profit whose mission is to drive efficiency in the commercial lighting sector.  In October 2019, the DLC will release their new policy and technical requirements for a Horticultural Lighting Specification.   This session will discuss their Specification, process and implications, addressing:

  • The need for a well-designed horticultural lighting product
    • Saving energy
    • Optimizing plant growth and health
    • Enabling utility program design and product testing
  • History and process for designing the specification
  • Overview of specification & results to date
  • Qualifying high performance horticultural lighting products through the DLC specification
    • Test procedures
    • Alignment on performance needs
    • Industry best practices
  • Addressing areas of technical uncertainty and issues with measuring below visible light
  • Implications for utilities – better management of increasing energy demand from horticultural facilities through incentive programs for efficient and effective horticultural lighting products

Damon Bosetti, Program Manager, Design Lights Consortium (DLC)

10:15 – 11:45 a.m. :: Closing Panel: Optimizing Utility-Cannabis Relationships & Technical Practices for Energy Efficiency & Grid Reliability

Moderator: John Morris, Vice President – Market Development, D+R International

Bob Gunn, Founder, Seinergy LLC

Gary Corlett, Energy Analysis & Customer Outreach – Business Customer Division, Southern California Edison