The Mount Rushmore State Tops 85% Electricity From Renewable Energy!

State Economy

The population of the Mount Rushmore State, South Dakota is approximately 0.90 million people[1]. South Dakota is the 46th most populated state in the United States.

In 2021, South Dakota’s economy was ranked 45th in the United States in gross domestic product (GDP)[2]. The state’s economy is dependent on the agriculture, fishing, forestry, food processing, and mining industries[3].

Environment Policies

In 2008, South Dakota enacted the Renewable, Recycled, and Conserved Energy Objective[4] which requests investor-owned, municipal, and cooperative utilities to sell 10% of their electricity from renewable energy by 2015.

In June 2022, utilities[5] used renewable energy (86.0 %) and coal (14.5 %) to generate electricity in South Dakota. Wind and hydropower are the dominant types of renewable energy used to generate electricity in South Dakota.

In June 2022, the cost of residential electricity in South Dakota was 13.31 ¢ per kWh, compared to the national average of 15.42 ¢ per kWh.

Recent renewable energy projects in South Dakota include:

  • 301 MW Wind Project – In February 2021, Illinois power company, Invenergy commissioned the Deuel Harvest Wind Farm, which is located in the eastern region of the state.
  • 219.6 MW Wind Project – In March 2020, American power company, S-Power commissioned the Prevailing Wind Park, which is located in the southeast region of the state.
  • 154.8 MW Wind Project – In January 2021, Spanish energy company, Avangrid Renewables commissioned the Tatanka Ridge Wind Farm, which is located in the eastern region of the state.
  • 151 MW Wind Project – In April 2021, French utility, Engie commissioned the Dakota Range III Wind Farm, which is located in the eastern region of the state.
  • 128 MW Solar Project –British renewable energy, National Grid is continuing work on the Wild Springs Solar project, which is located in the western region of the state. The solar project is scheduled to be commissioned by year-end 2022.


South Dakota has no commercial coal mines. The coal used to fuel the state’s power plant is transported by rail from Wyoming.

In 2010, 35.4 % of South Dakota’s electricity was generated from coal-fueled power plants[6]. In June 2022, only 14.5 % of the state’s electricity was generated from coal. Why the decrease in the use of coal?

  1. Pollution – Coal ash, the product of coal burned in a power plant contains arsenic, mercury, and lead; which are toxic. In 2019, coal ash was documented to have leaked into the ground water around 241 coal-fired plants in America[7].
  2. EconomicsThe cost to generate power from coal without subsidies is more than double the cost to generate power from renewables, like wind and solar.
  3. Climate Change Coal generates 40 % to 45 % more greenhouse gases than natural gas.

South Dakota has significant renewable energy resources, including wind, solar, and biomass resources. In 2021, South Dakota had total wind turbine capacity of 2,895 MW across the state.

The Mount Rushmore State topped  85% of its electrical power from renewable energy!

Jack Kerfoot

Website – “Our Energy Conundrum”


Jack Kerfoot is a scientist, energy expert, and author of the book FUELING AMERICA, An Insider’s Journey and articles for The Hill, one of the largest independent political news sites in the United States. He has been interviewed on over 100 radio and television stations from New York City to Los Angeles on numerous energy related topics.


[1] South Dakota Population 2022, World Population Review

[2] U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis

[3] Biggest Industries in South Dakota – World Atlas

[4] National Conference of State Legislators – State Renewable Portfolio Standards and Goals, August 13, 2022

[5] U.S. Energy Information Agency – South Dakota State Profile and Energy Estimates,

[6] EIA, Electric Power Sector Consumption Estimates, South Dakota 1960-2018

[7] Reuters, “Coal Ash Contaminates Groundwater Near Most U.S. Coal Plants: Study” by Valerie Volcovici, March 3, 2019

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