Vestas Again Leads Onshore Wind Turbine Manufacturers In 2017, Siemens Gamesa Closing The Gap

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Danish wind turbine manufacturer Vestas managed to hold on to its spot as the world’s leading onshore wind turbine manufacturer in 2017, but its recent dominance may not last forever as Siemens Gamesa is narrowing the gap after its successful merger was completed early last year.

According to new figures published this week by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) in its Global Wind Turbine Market Shares report, Vestas maintained its top spot in 2017 with 7.7 gigawatts (GW) worth of onshore wind turbines commissioned, equivalent to a 16% share of the global market. Vestas stepped back into top spot a year ago with 8.7 GW, beating out temporary usurper Xinjiang Goldwind which took the 2015 top spot with 7.8 GW of commissioned capacity.

Overall, 2017 was a slower year, with just under 47 GW worth of onshore wind capacity commissioned during the year, down 12% due in part to a slowdown in China. That being said, BNEF expects that commissioned capacity will bounce back in 2018 to 55 GW, up 17%, thanks to rebounding figures in China and the uptick of the Latin America market.

The top four onshore wind manufacturers in 2017 were Denmark’s Vestas, followed by Siemens Gamesa, Goldwind, and General Electric. While Goldwind and GE had solid years, installing 5.4 GW and 4.9 GW respectively, a lot of the focus is on the number two spot, filled by Spanish company Siemens Gamesa.

Announced in June of 2016, Spanish wind energy giant Gamesa revealed that it would be merging with German engineering giant Siemens’ wind business, and the move was formalized almost a year later in April 2017. The original announcement came only a few months after BNEF’s 2015 wind turbine figures were released, which saw Siemens and Gamesa account for fourth and fifth respectively, both with 3.1 GW worth of commissioned capacity. A year later, Gamesa stepped into fourth spot with 3.7 GW, as Siemens fell into eighth spot with 2.1 GW worth of commissioned capacity.

But when you combine two experienced wind turbine manufacturers, the result is unsurprising. In 2017, Siemens Gamesa commissioned 6.8 GW of onshore capacity, accounting for 15% of the global market share. What will be most interesting is to watch and see where Vestas and Siemens Gamesa sit at this time next year, after the latter gets to have a full year to compete.

“In 2017, quite a bit of distance opened up between GE in fourth place and the fifth-placed manufacturer, Germany’s Enercon, with 3.1 GW,” explained Tom Harries, senior wind analyst at BNEF and lead author of the report. “Six other turbine makers, from Europe and China, had between 1GW and 3GW commissioned last year.”

The consolidation that we’ve seen highlighted by the Siemens Gamesa merger might continue to play out over the next few years, as well.

“We’ve seen a wave of mergers in the wind turbine manufacturing industry in the last few years, including the Siemens-Gamesa deal and Nordex’s takeover of Acciona Windpower,” added Albert Cheung, head of analysis at BNEF. “With a large number of small players outside the Big Four, it would be no surprise to see further consolidation.”

As for offshore wind, the industry looks a lot different.

“In offshore wind, it was a very different story, with Siemens Gamesa continuing to be by far the biggest supplier globally, with 2.7 GW commissioned, and other players such as Sewind of China, MHI Vestas, and Senvion of Germany back at around half a gigawatt each,” concluded Harries.

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Joshua S Hill

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