Offshore wind farms are 125 times better for US taxpayers than oil and gas

Economic gains are calculated from lease sale rates per acre.
Ameya Paleja
Enormous windmills stand in the sea along a dutch sea
Enormous windmills stand in the sea along a dutch sea


A new analysis carried out by a nonpartisan policy research institute in the U.S. has shown that offshore wind farms are better for the taxpayers since public programs put the money back into the pockets of the common person, Gizmodo reported.

The analysis was carried out by the Center for American Progress and assumed importance in the face of rising oil and gas prices which have led to sharp inflation in most countries. While citizens are finding it challenging to balance a sudden increase in expenses with stagnated incomes, it is the promise of clean energy that also offers a way out of the energy crises in the long run.

Offshore wind farms are 125 times better for US taxpayers than oil and gas
Air pollution

Wind farms offer higher offshore lease sales

Offshore leases are patches of publicly owned waters that are rented out for purposes of energy production by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management in the U.S. This process is a provision under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the money made from the leases is deposited with the U.S. Treasury Department.

The public programs of the U.S. government are funded through such income, which puts money back into the pockets of taxpayers. In such a scenario, it is crucial to know how much contribution offshore oil and gas leases make compared to clean energy options such as wind farms.

The CAP report found that between 2019 and 2021, the average winning bid for an offshore lease for oil and gas was $47 per acre. In contrast, the average winning bid for an offshore wind farm was $5,900 per acre - a whopping 125 times more. What makes the number even more interesting is that the wind industry in the U.S. is still relatively new, and future leases are expected to see the number grow, Gizmodo said in its report.

Thus, there is now a greater financial incentive to provide offshore leases to wind farms rather than oil and gas. The environmental advantage has been noticeable. However, the CAP's report shed light on them too.

How clean is clean energy

Offshore wind energy is not entirely carbon neutral and produces 87 metric tons of carbon dioxide per acre. The report added that this is the equivalent of running 19 cars on the road for a year. This is a minuscule amount of carbon emissions that fossil fuels generate.

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The social cost of the carbon emissions, as calculated by the study, comes to $2,800 per acre for gas leases, while the amount skyrockets to $16,000 per acre for oil leases. In contrast, the report said the social cost of offshore wind is essentially nil.

However, the U.S. is still far away from tapping into this vital and clean source of power. Last year, the government set itself a goal of producing 30 GW of offshore wind power by the decade's end. So far, it is reached less than one percent of that goal, the Gizmodo report said.

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