Renewables Dominate Power Production In The Mount Rushmore State!

State Overview

The population of the Mount Rushmore State, South Dakota is approximately 0.94 million people. South Dakota is the 47th most populated state in the United States.

In 2022, South Dakota’s economy was ranked 46th in the United States in gross domestic product (GDP). The state’s economy is dependent on the agriculture, forestry, food processing, fishing, and mining industries.

Environmental Policies

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

Power Generation Capabilities

In September 2023, state utilities used renewable energy (69.6%), natural gas (16.0%), and coal (14.4%) to generate electricity in South Dakota. Wind and hydropower are the dominant types of renewable energy used to generate electricity in the state.

In September 2023, the cost of residential electricity in the state was 13.05¢ per kWh, compared to the national average of 16.29¢ 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 project, which is located in the eastern region of the state.
  • 220 MW Wind Project – In March 2020, American power company, S-Power commissioned the Prevailing Wind project, which is located in the southeast region of the state.
  • 200 MW Wind Project – French utility, Engie is continuing work on the North Bend Wind project, which is located in the central region of the state. The project is forecast to be commissioned by year-end 2024.
  • 155 MW Wind Project – In January 2021, Spanish energy company, Avangrid Renewables commissioned the Tatanka Ridge Wind project, 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 project, which is located in the eastern region of the state.
  • 128 MW Solar Project –In December 2022, British renewable energy, National Grid commissioned the Wild Springs Solar project, which is located in the western region of the state.


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. In September 2023, 14.4% of the state’s electricity was generated from coal-fueled power plants. Why the decrease?

  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.
  2. Economics – The 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 vast undeveloped renewable energy resources, including wind, solar, and biomass resources. In 2021, South Dakota had a staggering, total wind capacity of 2,895 MW across the state. Renewable energy now generates over 69% of the electricity in the Mount Rushmore State!

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, podcast, and television stations from New York City to Los Angeles on a diverse range of energy issues.

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