Vestas Vies with GE for Wind Market Lead in Rival Studies

Vestas Wind Systems A/S is vying with General Electric Co. for the lead in the global wind turbine market, with two studies disagreeing over which manufacturer topped the rankings last year.

Vestas took 14.6 percent of the market last year, edging out GE with 13.7 percent, Danish researcher Make Consulting said today in a report. GE’s 15.5 percent share beat Vestas on 14 percent, Navigant Consulting Inc.’s BTM Consult unit said today in a study confirming preliminary data released on Feb. 11, when it said Denmark’s Vestas lost its lead after 12 years. Both researchers had Siemens AG in third place.

The diverging results show how competitive the wind market has become, with Fairfield, Connecticut-based GE benefiting from a surge in projects in the U.S. market, where developers rushed to take advantage of an expiring tax credit that lawmakers ultimately renewed. BTM said 45 gigawatts of new capacity was added in 2012, with the U.S. installing 13 gigawatts to overtake China as the biggest market.

“Competition for the number-one spot went down to the wire” Make said today. Chinese manufacturers slipped down the table, in part due to a 26 percent decline in Chinese installations, it said.

The growth in installations last year was 7.8 percent — higher than 2011, while still below the 5-year average annual growth of 17.8 percent, BTM said. It lowered its 5-year prediction by 10 percent to 242 gigawatts of capacity additions over the 5 years through 2017. That would add about 85 percent to the current installed capacity of 286 gigawatts.

U.S. Market

“The revised forecast is explained by the challenging market conditions in the U.S., China and the long-established wind-power growth engines like Spain and Italy,” BTM said.

While Vestas lost the lead in its ranking, its market share still rose by 1.1 percent last year, BTM said. GE was “boosted by a rush to capitalize on the U.S. Production Tax Credit,” it said. The tax credit pays wind-farm owners 2.2 cents for every kilowatt-hour of power they produce. It was extended on Jan. 1, a day after expiring.

Make put Siemens on 10.8 percent of the market, while BTM said the German conglomerate took 9.5 percent of sales.

Make put Spain’s Gamesa Corp. Tecnologica SA in fourth place at 8.2 percent, and Germany’s Enercon GmbH in fifth with 7.8 percent. India’s Suzlon Energy Ltd. was sixth at 6.5 percent, while the top 10 was rounded out by four Chinese companies: Xinjiang Goldwind Science & Technology Co., Guodian United Power Technology Co., Sinovel Wind Group Co. and Guangdong Mingyang Wind Power Industry Group Co.

In BTM’s ranking, Enercon was fourth, Suzlon fifth and Gamesa was sixth, with the four Chinese manufacturers occupying the same positions as in Make’s survey.

Copyright 2013 Bloomberg

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