Graph of the Week: For Biggest Mileage Bang, Wind Wins

October 11, 2022

Canary Media:

Offshore leasing for energy development has been in the news thanks to the recently passed Inflation Reduction Act, which requires the federal government to offer new leases for oil and gas drilling off America’s coastlines before it can offer new leases for offshore wind. In terms of energy output per acre, however, leasing for offshore wind is a more productive use of U.S. waters, according to a new report from the Center for American Progress.

The report uses vehicle miles as a way to compare the three types of offshore energy development. One average productive acre of oil leasing generates enough gasoline to drive a car 1,917 miles. One acre of fossil-gas leasing produces enough electricity to drive an electric car 99,572 miles. One acre of wind leasing beats them both, producing enough electricity to drive an electric car 117,919 miles. 

Leasing for wind development also raises much more money for Americans than does leasing for oil or gas. The average winning bid per acre for offshore oil and gas leases from 2019 to the present was $47, according to the report. For offshore wind, the figure is a dramatically higher $5,906. 

“The average acre from an offshore wind lease sale brings in nearly 12,500 percent more revenue for taxpayers than 1 acre of oil while providing enough electricity to drive an electric vehicle almost 65 times farther than a gasoline-powered vehicle,” writes Michael Freeman, a policy analyst at the Center for American Progress and author of the report. 

Offshore wind is expected to play a key role in decarbonization as a major source of clean energy, and countries around the world have been installing offshore turbines at a fast clip. Last year, more than 21 gigawatts of offshore wind capacity were connected worldwide, 80 percent of that in China. In the U.S., the industry is only just getting started, but states on the East Coast have set goals to bring more than 36 gigawatts of offshore wind online by or before 2040, and California recently set a target to install 25 gigawatts by 2045.


5 Responses to “Graph of the Week: For Biggest Mileage Bang, Wind Wins”

  1. jimbills Says:

    25% of new car sales in China are EVs. 50% of EV sales globally are in China. It’s been powered by low cost EV options, generous subsidies on new EV purchases, higher fees on ICE sales (pay more for a license tag), and decent charging infrastructure:

    BBC News – China’s electric car market is booming but can it last?

    Future growth is threatened by a loss of subsidies and kinks in infrastructure. The U.S. currently lags significantly behind in all the above areas. And, to be noted, China is STILL selling 75% of its new cars as ICE vehicles.

    • rhymeswithgoalie Says:

      The Chinese must appreciate EVs as part of the ways to address their long-term air pollution problem in cities (though industry and trucking probably make up a larger portion of it).

    • rhymeswithgoalie Says:

      I can definitely see this booming in the Asian market:

  2. mboli Says:

    I don’t understand what this report is saying, but it certainly triggers my b.s. warning detector.

    Oil leases in the Gulf of Mexico come in blocks of about 5500 acres, about 8.5 square miles. A productive lease doesn’t mean that all 8.5 square miles of ocean are unusable. A huge tract of ocean is leased, a few drilling platforms are installed. Most of the ocean above the lease continues as normal.

    For the oil leases, energy per acre of lease seems to me like a meaningless quantity.

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