South Dakota is powered by renewables. In 2019, nearly 70 percent of all electricity generated in the state came from renewable sources. In contrast, renewable energy makes up only 16 percent of the United States’ net electricity generation.
As demand for clean power increases, the energy landscape in South Dakota is shifting. In 2009, coal power production represented half of the state’s electricity generation. By 2019 that number fell to only one-fifth. At the same time, renewable energy generation has accelerated. In 2019, the state’s wind energy capacity increased 57 percent, the highest percentage of growth in the nation.
With wind accounting for a quarter of the state’s total electricity generation, South Dakota is one of only six states producing more than 20 percent of its total energy through wind. However, the main energy producers are waterways, which generate 45 percent of the state’s power through hydro-electricity.
South Dakota is on track to significantly increase its solar energy in the near future. Two proposed utility-scale solar projects, the first in the state, have the potential to increase capacity from less than 2 megawatts to 200 megawatts in the next two years.
Clean energy production offers significant economic benefits to rural communities in the form of new jobs, increased tax revenue, and additional income for farm families. With U.S. renewable energy production expected to double by 2050, South Dakota stands to benefit from a continued commitment to growing its renewable energy industry.