With nearly 100GW deployed in 2020, global commissioning of new wind turbines was up 59% compared to 2019. After leading the ranking turbine supplier Vestas fell to third place in terms of number of turbines sold, as GE and Goldwind placed first and second, respectively.
Undeterred by covid, 2020 saw 96.3GW of wind turbines deployed globally, according to the latest research published by BloombergNEF (BNEF). Most of 2020’s new turbines were installed on land, at 95%, while offshore wind did see a fall in deployment from 2019, down 19% to 6.1GW.
Wind market growth driven by surges in US and China
Just four manufacturers accounted for more than half (51%) of the machines deployed: General Electric (GE), Vestas, Goldwind and Envision all commissioned over 10GW last year, as the gap widened between the leading manufacturers and smaller players. The growth in sales for GE and Goldwind was also driven by installations in surges in both the US and China.
China commissioned more onshore wind than the rest of the world combined
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. This surge in demand for turbines in China allowed smaller domestic turbine makers to fully utilize 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.”
“Over twenty turbine makers supplied wind turbines to China and many of them were able to double or triple their year-on year installed capacity,” said Leo Wang, Beijing-based wind associate at BNEF. “The expiring onshore and offshore subsidies fuelled the uptick in installations. Following the lapse of onshore feed-in premiums, the market is likely to see demand drop this year.”
US sales driven by end of the production tax credit
The U.S. commissioned 16.5GW of new wind capacity last year, as developers prepared for a phase-out of the production tax credit (PTC). 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 U.S. states.
Total onshore wind additions in 2020 were 19.4GW in the Americas, 12.6GW in Europe and 863MW in Africa and the Middle East, while Asia Pacific accounted for 57.3GW. BNEF’s database registered new wind farms starting full commercial operations in 44 countries.
Despite slow 2020 growth, suppliers battle for offshore dominance
Siemens Gamesa retains its position as the leader in the offshore wind market. Last year, Siemens Gamesa 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 U.K., among 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. 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.