South Dakota can lead in renewable energy

The Great Plains has a bright future in renewable energy, especially in rural areas where there is abundant space and resources are plentiful.

South Dakota ranks fifth in the U.S. for wind energy potential, capable of producing enough energy from wind to meet the state’s energy needs 300 times over. While South Dakota currently produces more than 26 percent of its energy from wind, there is still room for growth in the state.

Taking advantage of that renewable energy potential means that Plains States have access to cheap and clean energy, as well as a new driver for their local economies. The benefits of developing renewable energy go beyond providing cheap and clean power, as communities stand to gain a lot from wind energy investment.

Developing South Dakota’s wind energy resources has helped bring in new income to landowners in the form of land lease payments. Projects also bring in construction workers and long-term operations jobs that can add to a rural community’s local economy.

As more communities consider projects, it’s important that local officials and developers work to identify and address concerns that surround wind projects. New projects must include significant public input and provide community members with vital information on the development process and operation of wind projects.

South Dakotans can cement their place as a renewable energy leader by generating renewable energy for itself and its neighbors and reaping the benefits of wind energy development.