Utilities struggle to control appetites in energy-hungry marijuana industry
Kurt Nielsen is on a strange assignment, especially for a public employee. As the manager of the Lighting Design Lab, which is a spinoff of Seattle's power company, he has been tasked with finding energy-efficient lights for the growing of marijuana. Utilities and energy officials in Washington and Colorado indicate they are deeply worried about serving their new set of energy-intense customers -- pot growers -- while not running afoul of federal drug laws. The intertwined relationships between state and federal governments mean that acting to lower marijuana's energy usage could endanger millions of dollars in federal grants or electricity deliveries from federal hydroelectric dams.