Press "Enter" to skip to content

Lots of Wind, Far Too Little Sun: South Dakota 18th for Green Power Production in 2022

Governingpresents data from the Energy Information Administration showing how much wind and solar energy each state generated in 2022. South Dakota is one of thirteen states that cranked out more than 10,000 gigawatt-hours of electricity from wind power last year.

States producing 1000+ GWh of wind electricity in 2022; from Carl Smith, "Which States Generated the Most Renewable Energy in 2022?" Governing, 2023.03.13.
States producing 1000+ GWh of wind electricity in 2022; EIA data, in Carl Smith, “Which States Generated the Most Renewable Energy in 2022?Governing, 2023.03.13.

For perspective, 1.21 gigawatts can power one time-DeLorean. One gigawatt-hour would power about 100 American households for a year. South Dakota’s 10,325 GWh of wind electricity could thus power about a million households, just about three times the number of households in South Dakota. We could help out Minnesota: they generated 14,273 GWh of wind power last year, enough to power about 1.4 million of their 2.2 million households.

While Minnesota is generating 1.4 times as much wind power as South Dakota, Minnesota is generating 575 times as much solar power as South Dakota. Minnesota produced 2,298 GWh of electricity with solar panels last year. South Dakota made just 4 GWh of solar power. North Dakota produced only 2 GWh of solar power, but every other state beat us. Even Alaska managed to generate 18 GWh of solar power.

States generating 1000+ GWh of solar electricity, in Smith, 2023.03.17.
States generating 1000+ GWh of solar electricity, in Smith, 2023.03.17.

Add wind and solar and South Dakota ranks 18th overall for production of these two major forms of green power. Texas ranks first and is the only state generating over 100,000 gigawatt-hours (139,243, to be more exact)of green power. California is a wayback second at 76,021 green GWh. Iowa is our most greenly powerful neighbor, ranking third with 45,366 GWh. North Dakota, Minnesota, and Nebraska all out-green us as well, ranking 9th, 10th, and 12th, respectively. Wyoming ranks 21st; Montana ranks 31st.


State GWh – solar GWh – wind GWh – total
Texas 25,363 113,880 139,243
California 60,331 15,690 76,021
Iowa 702 44,664 45,366
Oklahoma 167 37,418 37,585
Kansas 154 29,469 29,623
Illinois 2,823 23,063 25,886
Colorado 3,780 16,706 20,486
New Mexico 2,544 14,480 17,024
North Dakota 2 16,571 16,573
Minnesota 2,298 14,273 16,571
Florida 14,030 0 14,030
Nebraska 122 12,555 12,677
North Carolina 12,078 537 12,615
Arizona 10,019 1,564 11,583
Indiana 1,442 9,766 11,208
Oregon 2,019 9,120 11,139
Nevada 10,095 316 10,411
South Dakota 4 10,325 10,329
New York 5,470 4,786 10,256
Michigan 1,139 9,110 10,249
Wyoming 209 10,020 10,229
Washington 487 9,148 9,635
Missouri 690 7,467 8,157
Georgia 7,372 0 7,372
Utah 4,616 726 5,342
Virginia 5,079 51 5,130
Massachusetts 4,679 220 4,899
Pennsylvania 1,015 3,768 4,783
New Jersey 4,627 22 4,649
Ohio 1,262 3,152 4,414
Montana 85 4,034 4,119
Idaho 715 2,886 3,601
Maine 843 2,741 3,584
Wisconsin 1,053 1,801 2,854
South Carolina 2,832 0 2,832
Hawaii 1,833 634 2,467
Maryland 1,863 498 2,361
West Virginia 33 2,045 2,078
Connecticut 1,398 13 1,411
Rhode Island 945 222 1,167
Arkansas 954 0 954
Alabama 918 0 918
Vermont 415 409 824
Tennessee 775 31 806
New Hampshire 239 482 721
Mississippi 530 0 530
Louisiana 466 0 466
Delaware 214 4 218
District of Columbia 203 0 203
Alaska 18 144 162
Kentucky 157 0 157
Data from EIA, in Smith, 2023.03.17


  1. larry kurtz 2023-03-19

    Naming a dark matter lab 5000 feet below Lead after a lecherous, usurious Republican billionaire sticks in plenty of craws in South Dakota yet real science is getting done there. The Homestake Mine represents 8000 feet closer to the geothermal potential capable of powering much of the region. New Mexico’s Sandia Labs, Los Alamos National Laboratory, South Dakota School of Mines and others are collaborating on exploring that potentially limitless resource.

    New Mexico is the third best state for solar power potential and some 420,000 photovoltaic modules have been put into service in the Land of Enchantment since 2018. Utilities are not your friends and according to WalletHub 16 of the 17 most energy efficient states are blue states but New Mexico still remains in the bottom half.

  2. John 2023-03-19

    The South Dakota governors, legislators, and public utility commissioners are laggards. Vision-less laggards.
    Using natural forces of wind and sun to power the prairie state was a no-brainer 20+ years ago as the technology emerged. Unfortunately the state’s past and present governors, legislators, and public utility commissioners showed and continue showing they have little for brains and common sense.
    Instead of moving forward, many of these Luddites construct road blocks against net metering and other solutions.

  3. Donald Pay 2023-03-19

    John is correct. With Xcel’s Montecello nuclear power plant leaking radioactive water last November (not disclosed to the public until a few days ago) it’s imperative that South Dakota wean itself off the Minnesota nuclear fix. Also, sh*t can the proposed interim “study” of nuclear power, and turn the study into ho to figure out how to accelerate wind and solar energy production in South Dakota. The Montecello plant is an antique, and should have been retired long ago. South Dakota is 25 years behind on wind 10 years behind on solar. No one should be studying nuclear power, which is a dead-end technology. The only way it survives is through socialistic and autocratic methods and marketing lies.

  4. larry kurtz 2023-03-19

    Solar gardens connect multiple residents to electricity without installing their own modules, charge controllers, inverters and batteries.

    In 2021 a study at Michigan Technological University revealed that far more work is needed to ensure the owners of self-generated electricity systems are not unjustly subsidizing electric utilities but in Wyoming, Black Hills Energy and PacifiCorp enjoy a duopoly.

    In Colorado Xcel charges homeowners 17 cents a kilowatt hour in base rates but only pays 8 cents per kWh to subscribers with rooftop solar who sell their home grown power. So, don’t tie your system to the grid but if you use it as a backup keep your own electricity completely separate from the utility that reads your meter.

    The cost of subsidizing, manufacturing, transporting, erecting, maintaining then removing just one wind turbine eyesore bat and bird killer would take a thousand subscribers to energy self-reliance. Microgrid technologies are destined to enhance tribal sovereignty, free communities from electric monopolies and net-metering only gives control back to utilities enabled by moral hazard.

  5. larry kurtz 2023-03-19

    If you can afford to leave the grid do it now.

  6. Arlo Blundt 2023-03-19

    When visitors arrive for the first time in South Dakota, they ask “Does the wind always blow like that”…and South Dakotans answer “What wind?”. We could certainly be more aware of our potential as an energy producer. We’re still stuck on striking oil or somehow turning low grade lignite into power. To turn to nuclear, when the wind is howling and “The Sunshine State” beaming under cloudless skies, is folly. Our politicians and PUC have always been in lockstep with the March of Folly and in the pocket of the Electric lobby.

  7. Mark Anderson 2023-03-19

    The wind blew, and the shet flew and there’s the South Dakota crew.

  8. grudznick 2023-03-19

    My good friend Lar is right. Green energy is super expensive. Even in the Sunshine State of South Dakota, the environmentally un-sound production of solar cells is infeasible and irksome to most. Put up your own windmill, but do not string power lines for miles, instead bury the transmission lines alongside the inevitable pipelines.

  9. Donald Pay 2023-03-19

    Xcel, of course, withheld the information on its massive radioactive leak because they have been pushing efforts in Legislatures to ram through these nuclear power study bills in South Dakota and Minnesota. Not sure if North Dakota has one. Wisconsin had such a study back around 2007. At that time Xcel and other utilities were adamant they would not be proposing any new nukes due to cost, even if the state lifted its stringent requirements on new nukes. Then during the Walker Administration they lifted those requirements and since then the utilities have failed to propose new plants because they are vastly uneconomic. compared to wind and solar.

  10. Algebra 2023-03-19

    How does anybody know how much solar electricity we are producing? How do they know how much anybody is producing?
    I have solar lights all over my property. I brought them indoors at night when a storm knocked out our power for days. People are putting solar panels on their roofs. Solar lights placed on sunny windowsills can light up a room at night. Lowe’s will sell you solar panels for $6,709 and it will produce 1500 watts.
    For about $20,000 you can cover your roof and power the whole house. We don’t need no grid.
    Solar power use can only be tracked by equipment sales, so nobody knows how much we’re producing.

  11. grudznick 2023-03-19

    Satellites from the Government can tell, Mr. Algebra. They measure and soon they will tax you on it.

  12. Edwin Arndt 2023-03-19

    How much snow can a solar panel tolerate? My roof has been covered
    with snow since Christmas. What do the panels weigh? Does one have to
    reinforce the roof before installation of solar panels? What is the life of
    a solar panel? In my particular case I would break even in approx. 7.5 years.
    That assumes no maintenance cost. Just asking.

  13. grudznick 2023-03-19

    It’s a boondoggle, Mr. Arndt. A fallacy being sold by oil of snake sellers. And if you have a really sweet roofline, like grudznick, it will destroy the cosmetic appeal of your abode.

  14. Nick Nemec 2023-03-19

    Check out this website for the Southwest Power Pool the gid operator for all or parts of 14 states from Canada to New Mexico in the central part of the country. Especially interesting is the pie chart showing generation sources. The chard is updated every few minutes throught the day to give a realtime feel of our sources of electrical power.

  15. grudznick 2023-03-19

    That is a neato blue link, Mr. Nemec. I note that solar is barely on the grid.

  16. Edwin Arndt 2023-03-19

    Grudz, my roofline is very sweet, possibly even more sweet than yours.
    And the cosmetic appeal is absolutely astonishing. The curb
    appeal is good too.

  17. grudznick 2023-03-19

    I have little doubt, Mr. Arndt. I have heard tales from drivers-by.

  18. larry kurtz 2023-03-19

    There is a volcanic neck on the grounds of the Tomahawk Country Club south of Deadwood and with enough thoughts and prayers it won’t bury anyone’s house but grud’s.

  19. John 2023-03-19

    Edwin, ignore grudz. It’s likely his “friend’s” living is tied to fossil fuels.
    Here are a couple places to begin one’s solar study.

    Matt Ferrell is a engineer in Massachusetts. Matt can spell snow. Matt has personal experience with solar on his house. (Matt is building a new Passive House that will also have solar.) One is able to purchase his lessons learned in his solar guide. Check out all his videos, especially the solar videos.

    These folks “built their own power plant”. Utilities and electrical engineers, like lawyers and doctors, don’t want citizens to have knowledge that might impact their livelihood. Several folks outside of sun meccas like California or Arizona, built their own residential solar systems – to code – and are saving money. Get the attitude that utility payments are merely a TAX, a TAX that is completely avoidable.

    If you want to start small to build your learning curve then consider powering a shed with solar power.

  20. John 2023-03-19

    Edwin, consider that if you, like me, have a property that does not optimize a southern exposure:
    explore either retrofitting to geothermal (which I did about a decade ago); or
    retrofitting to a heat pump.
    Either will save you from the worst of the utility TAX.

  21. sx123 2023-03-19

    I’m not against solar, but the upkeep… almost needs to be in a desert. The constant weeds, the wind, the snow, the warped panels. Take a look at some of Minnesota’s. I feel sorry for the person responsible for spraying or mowing around them and many were warped that I saw.

  22. Jeff Ottmers 2023-03-20

    There are some very interesting comments here, and I would love to visit the Dakotas. Commenters that still believe renewable energy is expensive, should visit Texas. They would quickly realize that the vast lead in renewable power in this conservative state is not because they care about the pollution, or any problem with drilling and burning oil. Going all electric is vastly cheaper, and so much better for people interested in self reliance. I generate my own power, drive on it, and store a little just in case the grid goes down. There is a lot of money to be made, and saved. A cleaner environment is not the motivation, though young people here wish it was.

  23. larry kurtz 2023-03-20

    So, in 2020 Spanish firm Iberdrola and its US subsidiary Avangrid announced its intention to acquire Public Service of New Mexico (PNM) for about $4.3 billion.

    But in 2019 Rio Rancho residents Paul Ortiz y Pino and his daughter Jessica spent $35,000 on a photovoltaic system that dropped their PNM bill from about $500 a month to $8 a month but the company that installed it nearly went bankrupt because of the Trump-driven pandemic so nobody followed up on maintenance then their PNM bill went sky high again.

    The array at our headquarters produces 1900W and the one at the casita property generates 700W. Both are 24V systems. Topping off the batteries with deionized water once a month is all the maintenance our systems require.

    Neighbors Bob and Karen just upgraded their system with four 6V lithium ion batteries at a cost of about $7000 because they use more power for a fridge and chest freezer than their lead acid batteries could store.

    Propane is our biggest energy cost so Our Lady of the Arroyo and her man are going to spend some money so we can run electric mini-splits in the two main houses at headquarters.

    Again — if you can afford to leave the grid do it now.

  24. e platypus onion 2023-10-01

    Mid America Energy of iowa reported wind turbine generation of electricity in 2022 outproduced the state’s entire usage of juice. Wind farms generated 27000 gigawatts of electricity last year. Good thing, right?

Comments are closed.