General Electric Could Finally Lead World's Wind Industry

For as long as the wind industry has been viable, it has firmly been led by one company – Vestas Wind Systems, based in Denmark. 

For the past 12 years, Vestas pioneered and then led the wind industry, even with the rise of stiff competition, instead of turning over to big conglomerates.

After a couple of very hard years for Vestas, however, General Electric may have taken over as the biggest turbine maker in the world. 

Although Make Consulting still gives Vestas an edge with a 14.6% market share compared to GE’s 13.7%, BTM Consulting contends Vestas holds a 14% market share, supplanted by GE’s 15.5%.

Either way, Vestas is close to losing its lead, if it hasn’t already.

GE is the leading supplier in the US, benefiting from last year’s surge in wind farm construction. But that could be a problem in  2013, when the market is expected to be down significantly.

In 2012, GE shipped 5,000 turbines, double that of the previous two years. This year, however, it only plans to ship 3000, reflecting the drop in the world market that’s affecting the industry.  

Although GE is expanding in India, pushing competitors like Suzlon and Vestas out, it could be muscled out of Latin America by China. GE made a key equity investment in Greenko, which plans to build 1 gigawatt of wind in India.

Other Top Turbine Manufacturers

Both studies agree that Siemens holds third place with 10.8% of the market, according to Make, and 9.5% according to BTM. It rose from 9th place in 2011.

Next comes Spain’s Gamesa with 8.2%, followed by Germany’s Enercon (7.8%), India’s Suzlon (6.5%); Goldwind; Guodian
United Power; Sinovel Wind and Guangdong Mingyang Wind Power. 

Compare this with 2011 rankings for the top 10.

Even with last year’s policy uncertainty in many countries, wind installations grew to record highs in 2012, with the US leading China for the first time in years. More than 60% of new wind capacity was in the US and China, says BTM Consult.  

While the cost for wind energy is at all-time lows, the rise of cheaper natural gas has made it hard to compete for now.


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