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GWEC: Wind turbine suppliers post record deliveries in 2021

GWEC: Wind turbine suppliers post record deliveries in 2021

According to data from the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC), 30 wind turbine manufacturers installed 104.7 gigawatts (GW) of new wind power capacity in 2021 despite continuing disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and increasing pressure from commodity price increases and logistical problems.

“This new record in installations is a testimony to the key role which wind energy is playing in delivering the energy transition and protecting people and economies from high energy prices caused by fossil fuel volatility,” Ben Backwell, CEO of GWEC, said.

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), the world needs to be adding around 390 GW of energy from wind generation by 2030 to keep the world on track to limit warming to 1.5°C. GWEC’s Global Wind Report 2022 found installations need to quadruple by 2030 to keep the world on course to reach that figure. These numbers can only be achieved with support for a market that delivers clean energy, clean jobs and works in fossil-fuel-free financial markets.

However, while turbine manufacturers delivered a record-breaking amount of projects in 2021 record-breaking deliveries, companies have shown worsening financial results due to an ultra-competitive price environment, higher external costs and continuing bottlenecks which are preventing a faster expansion in wind energy.

“The fact that wind turbine manufacturers are struggling to make a profit does not put the world in a strong position to scale up investment and reach the right level of installations – 390GW per year – that we will need to reach by the end of this decade,” said Backwell.

The Global Wind Market Development – Supply Side Data 2021 represents a detailed account of wind turbines mechanically installed globally from all active suppliers over the past year—crucially this does not consider whether the turbines are grid-connected and commissioned. 

The final report includes more than 30 tables and figures charting the evolution of global wind power markets on the supply side. This is the sister report to GWEC’s Global Wind Report 2022, which covers the global wind market status, based on annual grid-connected capacity.

29,234 wind turbines were installed worldwide by 30 wind turbine manufacturers in 2021, of which 18 are from Asia Pacific and nine are from Europe.

Vestas enjoyed a record year to remain the number one turbine supplier, making 17.7% of the new installations. Chinese company Goldwind was second with 11.8%, holding its position from 2020, while Siemens Gamesa also had a record year with a 9.7% global market share, moving it up to third place in 2021. Another Chinese company, Envision, is fourth with 8.65% of 2021’s market. GE Renewable Energy rounds out the top five with 8.55% of the market.

Vestas and Siemens Gamesa both enjoyed record years, with both companies leading the way in geographic diversification, with 37 and 32 countries delivered to, respectively. GE supplied 22 markets in 2021, while Goldwind and Envision only reached seven and three markets, respectively.

The upward trend in wind turbine rating and rotor diameter continues from the previous year. The average rated capacity of new turbines installed in 2021 surpassed the milestone of 3,500 kW while the rotor with the size greater than 140m accounted for more than 58% of the new installations. This is primarily due to the wind industry having a record year in new installations for offshore wind, while larger onshore wind turbines were installed in China after its onshore wind market entered the grid-parity era from 2021.

Medium-speed wind turbines continue to gain popularity, the data shows, with its global market share increasing to 9.7% in 2021, a 3.6% rise relative to 2020. Mingyang and Vestas remain the key drivers in this turbine drive train solution with Goldwind, the world’s number one supplier of direct drive wind turbines, and Sewind, China’s leading offshore wind turbine supplier, both installed their commercial medium-speed turbines in 2021 for the very first time.

The double-fed induction generator (DFIG) remains the mainstream solution in 2021 with 50% of the market share, followed by direct drive permanent magnet generator (DD PMG), squirrel cage induction generator (SCIG,) and medium-speed PMG.

“More than 100 GW wind power capacity was mechanically installed in 2021, making it the best year in global wind history and demonstrating the incredible resilience of the wind industry and global supply chain. The number of turbine suppliers dropped from 35 in 2020 to 30 in 2021, showing further market consolidation on the supply side, but the top six wind turbine OEMs lost 3% market share in 2021 as Tier 2 and 3 Chinese turbine OEMs gained more market share during the installation rush in China,” said Feng Zhao, head of Strategy and Market Intelligence of GWEC.

“Out of the global top 15 wind turbine suppliers in 2021, 10 come from China, but only two Chinese make the top five, a repeat of last year’s Top 15.

“Thanks for an astounding level of offshore wind growth at home driven by the feed-in tariff cut-off, however, Chinese suppliers dominated the offshore wind rankings last year with Siemens Gamesa and Vestas dropping out of the top three for the very first time. 2021 also saw the volume of exported Chinese turbines nearly tripled compared with 2020, but the Chinese OEMs’ market share outside China remains small,” he said.

The full report is available at GWEC’s Market Intelligence website.