When it comes to producing sustainable energy, South Dakota is one of the top states in America.

Big Think has the Mount Rushmore State ranked second behind only Vermont as the state with the highest levels of renewable energy sources, which include wind, hydro, solar, biomass, and geothermal.

Nationally, sustainable sources make up only 20 percent of the total amount of energy produced.

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  1. Vermont (99.8 percent)
  2. South Dakota (84.4 percent)
  3. Washington (84.1 percent)
  4. Maine (82.1 percent)
  5. Idaho (79.2 percent)
  6. New Hampshire (77.5 percent)
  7. Illinois (70.5 percent)
  8. Oregon (68.6 percent)
  9. Iowa (66.7 percent)
  10. Kansas (66.1 percent)

South Dakota is one of just five states that produces more than half of its electricity through hydro (50.5%). Washington (66.1%), Idaho (58.7%), Vermont (57.8%), and Oregon (51.9%) are the others.

The state also generates roughly one-third of its energy using wind (32.9%). That's fourth-best in the nation behind Iowa (57.5%), Kansas (43.3%), and Oklahoma (35.4%).

Only 8.6  percent of South Dakota's energy comes from coal, with another 6.9 percent generated by natural gas.


  1. Delaware (5.4 percent)
  2. Rhode Island (8.1 percent)
  3. Mississippi (13.4 percent)
  4. Kentucky (14.9 percent)
  5. West Virginia (14.9 percent)
  6. Indiana (16.3 percent)
  7. Florida (17.3 percent)
  8. Utah (19.1 percent)
  9. Ohio (22.5 percent)
  10. Hawaii (22.5 percent)

Nationally, 60 percent of energy still comes from fossil fuels with nuclear and renewable sources each making up about 20 percent of the total.

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