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South Dakota 39th in Energy Production, 8th in Consumption

The Energy Information Administration profiles energy production and consumption in each state. Some fast energy facts about South Dakota:

  • South Dakota ranks 39th for energy production. We make 0.3% of America's energy. Minnesota produces twice that share and ranks 34th. North Dakota is up to 13th with 2.0%. Wyoming is second, with all that coal and oil making up 13.3% of our energy production. Texas is first at 16.2%
  • South Dakota produces the largest amount of its energy in biofuels. We rank fifth in ethanol production. Our next biggest energy production sector is "other renewable energy," with our four big hydroelectric dams still producing more juice than our wind turbines.
  • South Dakotans burn up more energy than most Americans. We rank eighth in energy consumption per person at 464 million Btu. That's the same as each South Dakotan burning about 84 barrels of oil each year. Minnesotans use 25% less energy per person; North Dakotans use 65% more (all that Bakken oil doesn't bubble up out of the Williston tundra on its own).
  • Our electricity and natural gas prices are among the ten lowest in the nation, but because of our higher per-capita energy use, South Dakotans spend more on energy than most Americans. We spend $5,521 per person per year on energy, the ninth-highest per capita energy expenditure in the U.S. Minnesotans spend 18% less; North Dakotans spend 70% more.


  1. Charlie Hoffman 2013.07.24

    Based on the production of lbs of food produced per pound of fuel consumed I bet we rank right up there in the stratosphere CH. My hunch is Ag skews those numbers because of our low population relative to Ag production.

  2. El Rayo X 2013.07.24

    Using my Jethro Bodine ciphering and goesintas, South Dakotans spent around $4.7 billion on energy. Is that correct?

  3. Charlie Hoffman 2013.07.24

    South Dakota's GSP last year was $40 B and of that Ag's share was $21 B. El Rayo if your numbers are correct we were energy efficient to the ratio of 10 to 1.

  4. caheidelberger Post author | 2013.07.24

    Charlie, that $21B figure is baloney. That includes ag's direct and indirect contributions, so it's double-dipping on the direct contributions of other sectors. (I've got a post on this issue somewhere, but I can't remember the name of the SDSU economist from whom I got the info. Help, anyone?)

  5. Charlie Hoffman 2013.07.24

    We could justify or discredit the direct or indirect value of speaking of French too CH.

    Mais qui aurait gagner cet argument?

  6. caheidelberger Post author | 2013.07.24

    Moi! Prenez votre Google Translate et plantez-le dans votre oreille!

  7. Charlie Hoffman 2013.07.24

    Haha. You are 100% correct that my knowledge of French can fit in my ear!! LOL.

  8. caheidelberger Post author | 2013.07.24

    Charlie, agriculture directly contributes $8.3B to the $67.B of total output for SD industries, says Dr. Gary Taylor, SDSU economist.

    I would love to see a sector-by-sector breakdown of the use of all that energy. But whatever we're making, we're using more energy and spending more on it per capita than most states.

    Speaking French is très drôle, but let's talk inputs and outputs. Check out this data on gross domestic data by state. Looking at 2011, South Dakota had per capita GDP of $43,561. That's better than the national GDP per capita of $42,069. On face, that data says South Dakotans are producing more wealth per person than the national average. Yay, us!

    But now line those GDP numbers up with the energy consumption stats above. EIA says per capita energy consumption nationwide in 2011 was 312 million Btu. The average American produces 3% less GDP but uses 33% less energy than the average South Dakotan.

    Mash those numbers together, and I can give you an economic output per energy consumption per capita figure. Nationwide, Americans produce $135 of GDP for every million Btus of energy consumed. South Dakotans manage to produce just $94 of GDP for each million Btus consumed.

    In other words, Charlie, quit working so hard!

    Now, want a real kick in the pantalon? Guess who produces the most GDP per fixed energy input per person?

    Minnesota, California, Massachusetts, and New York all produce more wealth per energy input than we do. But the most efficient wealth producers are the denizens of Washington, D.C., who produce $508 of GDP per million Btu. In other words, folks in Washington manage to get more than five times as much value out of each unit of energy they use.

  9. caheidelberger Post author | 2013.07.24

    El Rayo-Jethro, you're close. Using 2011 population of 823,593 with the above 2011 energy stats, I multiply and get $4.547 billion.

  10. El Rayo X 2013.07.24

    C, I estimated that we'd have 850k* by now but when averages are spread over sparce populations, the numbers get skewed. If those costs were say spread over a square mile basis versus a state like Rhode Island or Connecticut, where would we stack up? The first rule of statistics, "You can say anything you want with statistics."

    * There's probably 26,500 illegal aliens taking good hog confinement jobs away from deserving South Dakotans.

  11. Bob Mercer 2013.07.25

    Very cold winters? Hot summers? Road hunters? Regional mall shoppers? Tractors? ATVs? 14-yr-olds driving to school? My 1995 Tahoe?

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