Analysis by BloombergNEF shows developers commissioned some 96.3 gigawatts (GW) of wind turbines globally last year, compared with 60.7GW in 2019

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BNEF’s data shows that General Electric and Goldwind were the top two turbine suppliers in 2020, following a surge in installations in the US and China (Credit: Needpix.com)

The global wind industry experienced a record-setting year for commissioning in 2020, with installations growing by 59% year-on-year despite the coronavirus pandemic.

Analysis by BloombergNEF (BNEF) shows developers commissioned some 96.3 gigawatts (GW) of wind turbines globally last year, compared with 60.7GW in 2019. Most of these were on land (94%), as the addition of new turbines at sea fell to 6.1GW in 2020 – a 19% drop compared to the previous year.

Just four manufacturers – General Electric (GE), Vestas, Goldwind and Envision – accounted for 51% of the machines deployed, with each company commissioning more than 10GW last year, as the gap widened between the leading manufacturers and smaller players.

BNEF’s data shows that GE and Goldwind were the top two turbine suppliers in 2020, following a surge in installations in the US and China. Vestas, which had placed first for the previous four years, fell to third place in the 2020 ranking.

“GE and Goldwind claimed the top two spots in this year’s ranking by concentrating on the largest markets,” said Isabelle Edwards, wind associate at BNEF and lead author of the 2020 Global Wind Turbine Market Shares report.

“This strategy may not be as fruitful in 2021 as subsidies lapse in those areas. Vestas takes on less market risk, with turbines commissioned in 34 countries last year.”

 

General Electric topped the onshore wind industry rankings for commissioning in 2020

The report shows that GE earned its spot at the top of the ranking by increasing its onshore installations by 6.6GW year-on-year, with installations in the US accounting for some 70% of its 13.5GW global portfolio. China, meanwhile, accounted for 98% of the capacity commissioned by Chinese turbine makers.

BNEF identified 57.8GW of new wind capacity commissioned in China last year. In the onshore market, this was more than was commissioned by the entire world in 2019.

It said this surge in demand for turbines in China allowed smaller domestic turbine makers to fully utilise their “idling manufacturing capacity”, and “gain ground on their foreign competitors” in the global ranking.

“While every region commissioned more wind capacity than the year prior, the unprecedented growth observed in 2020 should be credited to the Chinese wind market,” said Edwards.

“Nearly every turbine maker is now selling turbines into China, and in 2020 it was the second-largest market for both GE and Vestas.”

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Just four manufacturers – General Electric, Vestas, Goldwind and Envision – accounted for 51% of the wind turbines deployed in 2020 (Credit: Flickr/Phil Hollman)

Leo Wang, Beijing-based wind associate at BNEF said that more than 20 turbine makers supplied wind turbines to China and that many of them were “able to double or triple their year-on-year installed capacity”.

“The expiring onshore and offshore subsidies fuelled the uptick in installations,” he added. “Following the lapse of onshore feed-in premiums, the market is likely to see demand drop this year.”

The US commissioned 16.5GW of new wind capacity last year, as developers prepared for a phase-out of the production tax credit. This was 77% more than in 2019 and 2.6GW higher than the country’s previous record in 2012.

GE supplied 57% (9.4GW) of this new capacity and stretched its lead over the competition. Vestas’ market share sank to 31% in 2020, even though the Danish turbine maker commissioned a company record of 5.1GW across 14 US states.

Total onshore wind additions in 2020 were 19.4GW in the Americas, 12.6GW in Europe, and 863 megawatts (MW) in Africa and the Middle East, while Asia Pacific accounted for 57.3GW.

 

Siemens Gamesa remained the leader in the offshore wind market in 2020

Siemens Gamesa retained its position as the leader in the offshore wind market. Last year, the Spanish-German wind engineering company commissioned 1.91GW at sea, with 752MW at the Borssele wind farm in the Netherlands, and a further 539MW at the East Anglia One project in the UK, amongst other sites.

In a bid to reposition itself as a leading turbine supplier to the offshore wind industry, Vestas acquired MHI Vestas Offshore Wind in late 2020.

But BNEF believes it may be a few years before this move “shakes up the turbine supply market” as Siemens Gamesa already tops the offshore wind order books out to 2025.

Five turbine makers from China – Shanghai Electric, Mingyang, Envision, Goldwind and CSSC – overtook Vestas, which slipped to seventh place in the offshore wind market.