South Dakota’s agriculture industry is vulnerable to climate change
South Dakota’s climate is already changing. In the past century, most of the state has warmed by 1-2 degrees Fahrenheit. Rainstorms are becoming more intense, and annual rainfall is increasing. In the future, South Dakota can expect increasingly hot summers, which can negatively impact yields for some crops while extending the growing seasons for others.
- Heat: Extreme heat will increase in the Great Plains region. Days where the maximum temperature exceeds 95 degrees Fahrenheit in the Northern Plains are projected to double by mid-century. Rising temperatures, persistent drought and aquifer depletion could threaten the long-term sustainability of the great plains. Still, while the southern plains will see crop losses, South Dakota could see gains in crop yields according to a Risky Business report, though this will depend on a number of factors, including water availability.
- Adaptation: South Dakota has not developed a climate adaptation plan.
South Dakota residents support clean energy and climate regulations
- According to the Yale Map Project on Climate Change Communication 65% of South Dakota residents recognize that global warming is happening. The Project finds that 68% of residents support regulating carbon dioxide as a pollutant and 78% support funding research into renewable energy sources.
South Dakota: hydro is strong, wind is growing
- South Dakota set a renewable energy standard of 10% by 2015 which it met, producing 76.3% of its electricity from renewable sources in 2015 (25% wind, 50% hydro).
- Wind power provided about 30% of South Dakota’s total net electricity generation in 2016. The state ranks 19th in installed wind capacity with 977 MW – the equivalent of 99,000 cars worth of emissions avoided. Wind employs 1,000-2,000 people in South Dakota.
- The National Renewable Energy Laboratory estimates that about 94% of South Dakota’s land is suitable for wind development.
- South Dakota ranks 50th in solar, with just 240 kW installed and 320 people employed throughout the value chain.