According to the CEO’s 2018 Energy Use in the Colorado Cannabis Industry report, the energy burden associated with Colorado cannabis cultivation is significant, with cultivation facilities using an estimated 2% of the electricity generated in Colorado. As a result of this electricity use and additional natural gas and propane use, energy expenditures make up an estimated 33% of cultivation business’ operating costs. However, significant energy cost saving and resource reduction opportunities exist through the implementation of resource efficiency measures.
To assist Colorado cannabis cultivation facilities in realizing these opportunities, CEO has developed the Cannabis Resource Optimization Program (CROP). The program is designed to provide eligible cannabis cultivation businesses with no-cost technical assistance, including a facility audit and analysis of previous resource use, to better understand energy and water use and identify cost-effective resource management opportunities. CEO has partnered with Resource Innovations to offer technical assistance and support.
As a follow up to the on-site facility audit, CEO has partnered with the Colorado Clean Energy Fund (CCEF) and a lending institution to provide financing for energy efficiency equipment upgrades.
Please contact ceoCROP@resource-innovations.com with any programmatic questions.
Learn more and hear from one of CROP’s program participants in the video above.
Colorado PowerScore Benchmarking
The Colorado Energy Office has partnered with Resource Innovation Institute to offer a cannabis specific benchmarking platform for Colorado's cannabis cultivators. PowerScore is a free resource benchmarking and reporting platform. The platform enables cultivation facilities to benchmark their operational efficiency and productivity relative to industry standard Key Performance Indicators on energy, emissions, and water.
Applying for CROP technical assistance
- Step 1: Determine program eligibility
- Must be a cannabis cultivation facility registered with the State of Colorado.
- Must have a combined monthly electric and gas utility bill of $5,000 or more.
- Cultivation facility does not already have access to energy-specific technical assistance through its utility provider (see map below).
- Xcel Energy, Black Hills Energy, and Platte River Power Authority (Estes Park, Fort Collins, Longmont, & Loveland utilities) customers are not eligible for technical assistance, but are encouraged to access their utility’s technical assistance offerings.
View map in its own window
- Step 2: Submit an application
In order to be considered for CROP, cultivators are required to submit a completed application. CEO and Resource Innovations will conduct 30 technical assessments during the fiscal year (July 1 to June 30). These assessments are conducted on a first come, first served basis. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis. Please send completed applications to ceoCROP@resource-innovations.com. Please attach two recent utility bills with your application to confirm eligibility.
- Step 3: Guided assessment & report development
The Colorado Energy Office has partnered with Resource Innovations to provide technical assistance for CROP. Once you have been accepted into the program, a representative will contact you to schedule an on-site audit of your facilities to begin the process.
Collecting your operation’s historic resource usage data is a critical first step, including (where applicable):
- Electricity usage
- Natural gas usage
- Propane usage
- CO2 usage
- Water usage
This data, coupled with the on-site facility audit, will allow Resource Innovations to identify opportunities for efficiency improvements in your operations. Renewable energy assessments are also available upon request.
After conducting a technical energy assessment, Resource Innovations will deliver a summary report about your facility. This report will detail current performance metrics of your facility, recommended efficiency measures, and projected resource usage and cost saving potential.
- Step 4: Review financing options & apply for funding
Alongside your assessment report, Resource Innovations will help you assess available financing options to pay for the implementation of efficiency measures.
The Colorado Energy Office has partnered with the Colorado Clean Energy Fund to provide low-cost financing for eligible projects. Other project financing options, such as equipment manufacturer financing and utility rebates, may also be available.
The CROP program offers technical support to cultivators who do not currently have access to technical assistance through their local utility. The Energy Office anticipates that access to financing will be available to all cultivators later this year. At this time, we recommend cultivators who are not eligible for technical assistance through CROP to take advantage of current offerings from their utility provider. You can find more information about these offerings in the “Additional Resources” section below.
After identifying which projects to prioritize, Resource Innovations and the Colorado Clean Energy Fund will assist cultivators in gathering necessary documents and applying for financing.
Applying for CROP financing
Starting November 1, CROP financing will be open to all Colorado cannabis cultivation businesses. In order to be considered for financing, cultivation facilities must have an Energy Assessment Report from their utility provider. The CROP application is a rolling application and will close when 20 applications have been accepted.
- Step 1: Determine financing eligibility
- Must be an active cannabis cultivation facility holding all required state and local licenses
- Facility must have a minimum combined monthly electric and gas utility bill of $5,000
- Facility must have received an Energy Assessment Report from their utility provider
- 700+ combined Beacon for owner(s) that are 10%+ owners
- 5+ years in business
- Personal Guarantee(s) from owner(s)
- Equipment installations must be completed by a licensed contractor
- Step 2: Submit an application
Applicants who meet eligibility requirements are required to complete and submit the application and all required supporting documents to CROPfinancing@state.co.us. Please submit two recent utility bills and the facility’s Energy Assessment Report with your application to confirm eligibility.
Application and program guidelines are available in the folder linked below.
Cultivators whose utility provides technical assistance can fine more information about their utility's programs by visiting the utility's website:
- Energy Efficiency for Cannabis Cultivations [video]
- Energy Efficiency for Colorado Cannabis Cultivators Guide 2023
- Xcel Energy: Business Services Cost Savings Programs
- Black Hills Energy: Efficiency and Savings
- Platte River Power Authority: Rebates for businesses
- Boulder County Cannabis Energy Impact Offset Fund
You can find additional cannabis-specific sustainability information on the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment's Greening the Cannabis Industry webpage