From the prairies to the Black Hills, South Dakota is growing
its clean energy economy in a big way. Thanks to the efforts of the renewable
energy industry, landowners and surrounding communities, South Dakota has already
received over $3 billion in cumulative wind project investment.
South Dakota gets
about 24 percent of its in-state electricity production from wind power, ranking
fifth in the country and powering more than 200,000 homes. With 1,742 megawatts (MW) online, the
state ranks 18th in the nation for installed wind capacity. Another 1,343 MW are
currently under construction and 302 MW are in advanced development. Up to $9
million in state and local taxes are paid by the wind industry every year, and
another $9.8 million in annual land lease payments are being paid to rural landowners.
Dakota’s solar capacity is in its infancy, it is poised for growth.
There are 291 MW of solar projected over the next five years. This is great
news because solar prices have dropped 88 percent since
2009, making it one of the cheapest electricity sources available. The solar
industry has already invested over $3 million in South Dakota, and even more
importantly, the industry employs 613 people through its 17 solar companies, including three
manufacturers, six installers and developers and eight other related companies.
America’s energy sector is transitioning to a clean energy economy as states implement strategies to
incorporate more renewables and set carbon-reduction goals. As more states embrace
clean energy, ratepayers will benefit from its low-cost, and citizens can
benefit from the great jobs that it offers. New job opportunities will
emerge offering good, family-supporting jobs to people in urban and rural
areas. According to Clean Jobs Midwest, more than 11,000 South Dakotans were employed in a clean energy job prior to COVID-19.
These jobs grew 4.5 times faster than the state’s overall employment in 2019.
Renewable energy is the second largest clean energy employer in South Dakota,
with 2,327 workers. Clean energy jobs can be found in all corners of the state,
from cities like Sioux Falls to rural areas, which hold 43 percent of these
jobs. The state’s five manufacturing facilities provide direct wind jobs while
making products for the wind industry. As an added bonus, businesses will benefit
from the economic ripple effect that comes from renewables.
As the transition from fossil fuels to clean energy marches on, South Dakota will
reap the benefits of a low-cost, reliable, and renewable source of electricity.
Families are supported through the growing clean energy job market and farmers and
ranchers can rely on a steady source of income. The growth of South Dakota’s
clean energy output also helps reduce carbon emissions and creates more
economic opportunity. Renewable energy creates stability for Rural America –
and that’s just smart!