When driving across South Dakota, you'll most likely see those giant wind turbines gracing the landscape with 170 foot blades rotating on the horizon. These "behemoths of the prairie" generate electricity from wind - and we've got plenty of that in the Rushmore State.

Each of the three blades on a typical wind turbine can weigh up to 11,000 pounds which makes it a modern marvel considering they can rotate up to 20 times per minute!

But how many wind turbines does South Dakota have?

As of July 2022, there are 2,811 wind turbines in South Dakota generating 5,525 Megawatts of electricity! Not quite the 1.21 Gigawatts that blew Dr. Emmet Brown's mind in Back to the Future - but we're getting there.

Youtube via Movieclips
Youtube via Movieclips
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The U.S. Wind Turbine Database has a very cool interactive map for wind turbine locations in the United States. When narrowing the map to just South Dakota you'll see where they are located.

U.S. Wind Turbine Database interactive map. Courtesy of https://eerscmap.usgs.gov/uswtdb/
U.S. Wind Turbine Database interactive map. Courtesy of https://eerscmap.usgs.gov/uswtdb/
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If you really want to see how a wind turbine works and how electricity is generated, check out the Energy.gov website. It's actually pretty cool.

Map services and data are available from U.S. Wind Turbine Database, provided by the U.S. Geological Survey, American Clean Power Association, and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory via https://eerscmap.usgs.gov/uswtdb.

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