NPGA Bobtail

Empowering Cannabis Cultivators with Reliable Back-Up Power

The corn crop is expected to be drier this year due to excessive heat and less precipitation.  Consequently, there may be a diminished demand for propane to dry corn in 2023. However, an emerging opportunity for propane exists in the cannabis cultivation industry. With increasing concerns about unreliable electricity grids during peak hours and energy shortages, propane can serve as a viable alternative for powering operations, ensuring uninterrupted cultivation processes.

Cannabis cultivators often face challenges when it comes to powering their operations reliably. The electricity grid can be unreliable during peak hours, and energy shortages can disrupt crucial processes. Propane presents an attractive solution as a back-up power source. Cultivators can invest in propane-powered generators to ensure an uninterrupted electricity supply for lighting, ventilation, temperature control, and other critical functions. This shift in demand offers cannabis cultivators an opportunity to adopt a reliable and efficient energy solution, as well as growing gallons for the propane industry.

Of the major corn-producing states, only two have major cannabis production – Colorado and Illinois. Both have experienced rolling brownouts due to extreme weather and high temperatures, which has created a dynamic where corn is drier in these areas, cannabis grown outdoors is wetter, and indoor cannabis operations are struggling to maintain daily operations. The North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) released the State of Reliability report in June. The report is published to analyze risks to the Bulk Electric System to develop a risk-based approach to solving important Bulk Electric System problems. For an overview of the report, view here. The 2023 NERC State Reliability report shows that approximately two-thirds of the country are an “elevated risk” of power loss because of the reasons mentioned above – frequent extreme weather, high temperatures, and add-in wildfires. Colorado and Illinois are in the elevated-risk region.

If propane marketers are looking for an opportunity to make up demand, branching out to cannabis operations in the area would be a great start. Cannabis facilities have a lot of compliance regulations, and a few apply to mold and allowable moisture content for end products. Not having the power necessary, in the event of a brown or blackout, the cannabis operation is left vulnerable to a variety of issues, including security issues. Propane generators can be the solution when these problems arise. Furthermore, when harvest starts in the coming weeks, the operations will already have what they need to ensure harvest goes smoothly, at least for the drying and energy aspects.

For more information on propane demand for corn crop or cannabis operations, please contact Twana Aiken, Senior Manager of Industry Affairs.