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Vestas continues to top turbine table, GE charges to head of chasing pack

24 March 2021 Keiron Greenhalgh

Denmark's Vestas remained the globe's top wind turbine supplier for a fifth year running in 2020, installing 16.186 GW of capacity, according to preliminary figures released by the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) 23 March.

Across both the onshore and offshore sectors, the Danish company installed turbines in 32 markets in 2020, with the US, Australia, Brazil, the Netherlands, France, Poland, Russia, and Norway key markets for the company last year, according to the trade group.

However, the strength of the US onshore market also boosted the fortunes of the closest challenger to Vestas in 2020. GE Renewable Energy jumped two places in the table from fourth in 2019 on the back of home turf primacy to reach 14.135 GW of installations. The subsidiary of the Boston-based conglomerate also had a good year in Spain in 2020, GWEC said without providing any figures.

Despite disruptions to local supply chains and project execution in the US as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the American manufacturer's domestic market installations topped 10 GW in 2020, which GWEC said made it the number one supplier in the US for a second consecutive year.

Chinese home turf dominance

The next couple of spots in the GWEC rankings were occupied by Chinese companies dominating their own backyard, the biggest market in the world. Goldwind held onto the third spot globally in 2020, posting a record year in China with more than 12 GW of installations, while also breaching the 1 GW milestone for the first time overseas, for a combined total of 13.606 GW.

Goldwind still held the top spot in China in 2020, but ceded market share due to strong domestic competition, GWEC said.

Envision ranked fourth globally in 2020 at 10.717 GW of installations, inching once place higher from 2019. The Chinese company took advantage of strong market growth at home, where it installed over 10 GW of capacity in 2020, a record for the company, according to the trade association.

"Chinese and American turbine manufacturers had a record of new installations that saw most of them moving up in global turbine [original equipment manufacturer (OEM)] market rankings," said Feng Zhao, GWEC head of strategy and market intelligence. "This makes sense as it reflects the situation that the world's two largest markets China and United States had the lion's share in global wind installation in 2020."

On 18 March, GWEC released data showing 52 GW of wind power capacity came online in China in 2020, double the level of installations in 2019 and the largest figure in history for a single year in one nation.

This brought total installed capacity in the Asia Pacific region to nearly 347 GW -- with over 288 GW of that in China and India second in the regional rankings at more than 38 GW.

The growth in Chinese and US installations was due to developers rushing to install projects before subsidies expired, said Indra Mukhurjee, IHS Markit senior analyst, adding that a strong surge in partial repowering activity in the US also bolstered turbine deliveries for major players on GE's home turf. Historically, GE and Vestas have vied for top spot in the US, Mukhurjee said.

OEMs in mainland China expanded their supply chains to support the anticipated development rush, but even so, the supply chains of major local OEMs such as Goldwind, Envision, and Mingyang were stretched to the limit, said Mukhurjee. As a result, "wind supply chain consolidation was temporarily interrupted in 2020 as developers turned to less favored smaller tier 2 OEMs with adequate bandwidth to deliver turbine orders as soon as possible," he added.

Siemens Gamesa drops three spots

Meantime, Siemens Gamesa dropped three spots in the global rankings, with GWEC citing "a relatively slow year" for the European offshore wind sector for a 1.2 GW decrease in the Spanish company's installations to 8.7 GW. Siemens Gamesa retained top spot in the offshore wind market, the trade group said, and nearly matched top dog Vestas for the number of markets it was active in with 31.

Siemens Gamesa continued to execute its pipeline of older generation 7-8 MW offshore turbines while also sitting on a significant order pile for its newer 11-15 MW turbines, Mukhurjee said, adding that the offshore wind arena will play an increasingly significant role in the vendors installations in 2021 and beyond.

In 2019, the rest of the top 15 comprised: Mingyang, Nordex Acciona, Enercon, Windey, Dongfang, Sewind, CSIC Haizhuang, Senvion, United Power, and MHI Vestas.

While not cracking the top five in 2019 or 2020, Mukhurjee said Nordex Acciona delivered strong growth in installations two years in a row as a result of regional diversification.

A full set of results will be published in GWEC's Global Wind Market Development-Supply Side Data 2020 report in late April 2021, it said.

Posted 24 March 2021 by Keiron Greenhalgh, Editor, Energy and Natural Resources Group, IHS Markit

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