global • turbine market Demand for gas turbines is far outstripping supply, pushing prices higher and sparking the development of a secondary speculative trading market in turbines on order or available.

Over the last two years, orders for turbines have doubled and, for instance, GE has announced a $30 billion order book for turbines this year, up $7 billion on last year and estimates that US orders are around 50 GWe, up from only 6 GWe a year ago. A number of large turbine orders have been placed recently, notably a $3.7 billion order from FPL with GE Power Generation for 66 gas turbines and associated services.

According to a number of reports, demand is set to increase still further over the next 12 months or so. Consequently, companies with turbines on order are being invited to join planned projects with those companies that have not. For example, Calpine, which two years ago ordered some 16 turbines without having associated projects has seen its share value rise as the tight supply has pushed developers into increasingly desperate measures to secure the core component of the majority of modern power stations planned. This desperation is prompting companies such as Black & Veatch to begin compiling data in order to act as ‘matchmakers’ between project developers and those with turbines available.

The huge demand has been encouraged by deregulating energy markets in the US and Europe and the perceived environmental benefits associated with the use of gas.

A recent report from Forecast International / DMS has identified a number of factors that are influencing the market such as the rise of IPP and merchant generation requiring flexibility of capacity, cogeneration applications and the repowering, with gas turbines, of older fossil-fired steam stations. The report goes on to say that a total of 34 000 gas turbines of varying capacity are expected to be built over the next decade, although not all will be used for power generation.

In countries such as Mexico, ministers have warned that the global turbine supply shortage may impede the development of, or put at risk, the energy supply system.