The power generation industry is always on the lookout for new pockets of demand for the electrons it produces. 

For instance, the prospect of electric vehicles taking over from gas-fueled cars and trucks on the highways is music to the ears of independent power producers and utility companies alike. But a report from Barclays highlights another source of demand for potentially millions of megawatt-hours: Cannabis farming.

As the drug becomes legal for medicinal and recreational use in multiple states across the U.S., the electric demand of indoor marijuana farmers, who use powerful lighting to spur the growth of their plants, has the potential to reach ever greater highs.

“Using Colorado's increase in electricity demand for marijuana production, we see the potential for 13 [million MWh] or 2 GW of need to fuel demand from 16 states that have or could adopt recreational cannabis,” write the Barclays analysts in the report, entitled ‘Mary Jane Gets a New Car’, which reviews the impact of electric vehicles and indoor farming on electricity sales.

As power purchase agreements with traditional utilities remain scarce, is it only a matter of time before the “green” growing industry looks to procure some green energy to match?

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