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

The news and culture site Big Think says the Mount Rushmore State ranks 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.

Get our free mobile app


  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 produce more than half of its electricity through hydroelectricity generation (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 the 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.

The US Department of Energy describes Hydropower like this: "Hydropower or hydroelectric power is a renewable source of energy that generates power by using a dam or diversion structure to alter the natural flow of a river or other body of water."

South Dakota's hydropower comes from four dams on the Missouri River which runs through the center and southeastern parts of the state. They are the Gavins Point Dam near Yankton, the Fort Randall Dam near Pickstown, the Big Bend Dam near Fort Thompson, and the Oahe Dam near Pierre.

TIPS: Here's how you can prepare for power outages

From Frybread to Pheasants - Here are South Dakota's Official State Things

Every state in our nation has chosen things that represent the state in one way or another to be official state things. Like a flower, or animal. South Dakota is no different.

The Mount Rushmore has a state flower. But did you know we also have a state tree and a state fish? Yes, we even have a state code.

Here is what we have so far in Wyoming. Thanks to the South Dakota Secretary of State's Office for the info:


LOOK: Famous Historic Homes in Every State

LOOK: Things from the year you were born that don't exist anymore

The iconic (and at times silly) toys, technologies, and electronics have been usurped since their grand entrance, either by advances in technology or breakthroughs in common sense. See how many things on this list trigger childhood memories—and which ones were here and gone so fast you missed them entirely.

More From KIKN-FM / Kickin' Country 99.1/100.5