MAKE Consulting ranks wind turbine manufacturer Vestas at the top

Denmark-based Vestas Wind Systems A/S once again topped the list of wind turbine original equipment manufacturers, according to Dan Shreve, director with MAKE Consulting. The strategic advisory firm, which focuses on the global wind industry, recently released its annual report that tracks global wind turbine manufacturing trends, “Wind Turbine OEMS Global Market Share Report for 2009.”

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Vestas maintained its strength in its core markets, such as Spain and Portugal as well as other European countries. In addition, Vestas saw a significant gain in market share in Canada. “Vestas did have some issues in China, but then again so did all of the Western OEMs,” Shreve said.

Vestas built the world’s biggest wind turbine manufacturing complex in northeastern China.

“With respect to the Chinese marketplace, Vestas actually held its own fairly well and did about 2x of what most of the other Western manufacturers did. [Its] total market share was on the order of 4.0% to 4.5% and that’s characterized on the basis of over 13.7 GW of installed capacity. So despite the small percentage points, it’s still a substantial amount of installations that are going into the Chinese wind space.”

The Chinese wind market does not appear to be slowing down, given the government’s aggressive installation targets for that sector, according to Shreve.

In North America, Canada saw significant growth and the United States posted another record year. According to the American Wind Energy Association’s “Year End 2009 Market Report,” released in January, 9,922 MW of new capacity was installed, breaking all previous industry records. The additional capacity increased the U.S. wind plant fleet by 39%, bringing the country’s total wind power generating capacity to more than 35,000 MW from 25,237 MW at the end of 2008.

The record year was largely fueled by the favorable stimulus packages offered under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 that helped wind project developers, which helped boost installations in the second half of the year. In addition, the first quarter of 2009 saw substantial installations due to the momentum carryover from 2008.

MAKE Consulting is anticipating a drop off in U.S. installations in 2010 compared to last year, with an estimated installation capacity of 7.8 GW. General Electric remains well positioned to dominate the U.S. wind manufacturing market, despite losing market share in 2009, according to Shreve. The introduction of its 2.5-MW system in the United States should help GE maintain its strong position in the country.

Larger machines, particularly larger rotors, continue to be the trend in the wind turbine manufacturing sector, particularly in North America. “Wind turbine manufacturers are seeking to extract the most out of the wind resources that are available in the U.S.” Shreve said.

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Jennifer Zajac has covered the U.S. electric power sector for more than eight years and was founder/editor of SNL Energy's Renewable Energy Week, a newsletter devoted to the utility renewable energy market in North America. Currently, she covers EPA policies that impact the power industry and is working on a masters' degree in Global Energy Management at the University of Colorado-Denver.

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