Navigant Research Blog

2016 Reshuffles the Top 10 Global Wind Turbine Manufacturers

— June 8, 2017

Navigant Research’s annual World Wind Energy Market Update ranking of the top 10 wind turbine vendors is closely observed every year. This benchmarking goes back 22 years—before other similar analyses existed and when commercial wind turbines had 50 meter rotors and a top nameplate size of around 750 kW. Today in 2017, there are rotor diameters pushing beyond 140 meters for some onshore turbines and 164 meters for offshore turbines. Nameplate capacities for onshore are mostly between 2 MW and 4 MW and 9 MW for offshore, and 10 MW capacities are just around the commercial corner.

In 2016, a total of 54.3 GW was installed globally, a 14.0% annual decrease. This annual downturn is largely the result of China dropping from 30.2 GW installed in 2015 to 23.3 GW in 2016 due to changing incentive rates in that market. The new wind capacity added in 2016 brings new cumulative wind capacity up to 486.8 GW globally, a 12.1% annual increase.

The downturn in China from an unbelievable amount of capacity installed in 2015 to a merely astonishing level installed in 2016 resulted in a shake-up of the top 10 ranking, as a few Chinese vendors dropped in capacity and rank against their peers. Merger and acquisition (M&A) activity also effected the ranking, with GE now including Alstom wind activity and Nordex including Acciona activity.

The Top 10 in 2016

The actual megawatts and market share numbers installed in 2016 are available in the full report, but the following summary describes the year 2016 annual top 10 ranking:

  • Vestas regained its longtime No. 1 status globally for annual wind installations with double-digit growth rates. It even achieved higher capacity additions in the United States over GE Energy, which has normally held a perennial lead.
  • GE Energy saw its strongest year to date and moved from 3rd place in 2015 capacity in last year’s Navigant Research World Wind Energy Market Update report to 2nd place for 2016 capacity. Its acquisition of Alstom’s wind turbine division helped, but it was largely momentum with GE Energy’s wind portfolio that drove its move upwards.
  • Goldwind fell in 2016 to 3rd place from its briefly held No. 1 position in 2015, when it rode the cresting wave of the record Chinese market.
  • Gamesa took 4th place in 2016, underlining why it was a target for M&A with Siemens’ wind division, a mega-merger that was made official in April 2017. Despite no Spanish home market, Gamesa saw continued success in a variety of global growth markets, propelling it from 8th place globally in 2014 and 5th in 2015 to 4th in 2016.
  • Enercon had a strong 2016, moving up the ranks to 5th place in 2016, thanks to a strong domestic German market, a reputable direct drive turbine portfolio, and well-diversified sales internationally.
  • Siemens again fell two positions in the 2016 top rankings to 6th place from 4th in 2015—and from 2nd in 2014, when it nearly took the top slot from Vestas. In 2016, a commanding lead in its offshore wind division could not offset lower installation rates in its onshore segment.
  • Nordex broke into the top 10 category, taking 7th place globally. This jump in 2016 was due largely to its acquisition of Acciona in 2015, which rapidly shifted Acciona’s international success to the Nordex Group.
  • The final three top 10 companies in order were all Chinese: Envision, Ming Yang, and United Power. All three saw lower installation totals in 2016 than in 2015 as the Chinese market cooled. Envision moved up the rankings within the large group of Chinese turbine OEMs.

Top 10 Wind Turbine Suppliers Market Share, World Markets: 2016

(Source: Navigant Research)


Gamesa Acquisition Could Stir Up Wind Turbine Vendor Dynamics

— February 24, 2016

Der Rotor wird angesetztSince early February, Siemens, Gamesa, and other stakeholders have been in talks exploring the potential for Siemens to acquire the Spanish turbine vendor. Should this come to pass, it would be a huge change to the top global wind turbine vendor dynamics. Vestas’ position as the number one turbine vendor would surely be challenged and more likely surpassed by a larger Siemens. 2015 project installation numbers are still being compiled, but Vestas led annual installations in 2014 with 12.3%, followed by Siemens with 9.9% and Gamesa with 4.7%.

The strongest reason for this acquisition is that Siemens’ wind business is weakest in the areas where Gamesa is strongest, such as India, Mexico, and Brazil. These are the key countries that Gamesa pivoted to when its home market in Spain collapsed in 2012 and 2013 due to austerity measures and energy policy reforms that terminated wind price supports.

In 2014 yearly installation figures, Gamesa had 21.5% market share in Brazil, just behind General Electric’s (GE’s) 22.2%, while Siemens was in fourth place with 15.7%. In Mexico, Gamesa was the market leader with 72.6% market share, followed next in line by Vestas, while Siemens had no installations. In India, Gamesa led market share installation in 2014 with 32%, outperforming India-based Suzlon at 28%—and again, no Siemens installations.

Smoothing the Bumps

These three countries are important growth markets for turbine vendors, and diversification across geographies helps vendors smooth out booms and busts driven by changes in country energy policies. Market diversification is precisely why Nordex of Germany is in the process of acquiring Spain-based Acciona’s wind turbine business, which not coincidentally is also strong in the Latin American markets. A Siemens acquisition of Gamesa could even be viewed as a strategic counterweight against the Nordex acquisition of Acciona. This is a similar example of a turbine OEM with concentrated strength in Northern Europe acquiring another vendor in order to diversify business and cushion overreliance on limited European markets.

Gamesa and Acciona are also, arguably, homeless. While both companies have always had strong export strategies, they have not had the benefit of the strong home markets enjoyed by most of their competitors. Preliminary Navigant Research data shows zero new installed wind capacity in Spain in 2015.

Gamesa has enjoyed success in the U.S. market, but it has lagged behind the big three of GE, Vestas, and Siemens. Again looking at 2014 installation metrics, Gamesa had only 4% of U.S. market share compared to Siemens at 20.7%  (although it should be noted that Gamesa inked 518 MW of orders for the U.S. market in the second half of 2015 and continues to secure healthy sales). However, the company has sharply reduced its manufacturing and supply chain presence in the United States and now relies on exports of nacelles from Spain and outsources blades and towers. There is not much supply chain overlap with Siemens in the United States, which has substantially more manufacturing presence in the country.

Offshore is probably the most fascinating and problematic area of overlap. Gamesa is in a 50/50 joint venture (JV) called Adwen with French company Areva. Adwen’s technology is based on Areva’s geared medium speed technology (formerly Multibrid). This is a proven and competitive drivetrain with 600 MW installed in 2015, and there is over 1 GW of orders booked for projects outside of France. It would be difficult to imagine the JV continuing as-is if Gamesa was acquired by Siemens, which is already the world leader in offshore wind. Adwen could continue solely as an Areva company, but this would be challenging, and a replacement partner could be a wise choice.


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