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Vestas Remains Top Wind Turbine Maker, Goldwind Is Second

Google Runs Computers on Wind Power While Betting on Sun
Google Inc., which consumes 2.26 million megawatt-hours of electricity a year, mainly for data centers that run its billions of Web searches, prefers wind power. Photo: David McNew/Getty Images

The wind-power market is expected to grow more slowly than prior estimates, with Make Consulting and Navigant Consulting Inc. cutting forecasts through 2016.

Global installations will probably increase at a compound 7 percent a year in the next five years, Aarhus, Denmark-based Make said today in an e-mailed statement, down from its prior 10 percent figure. Navigant’s BTM Consult unit cut its cumulative forecast for the five years through 2016 14 percent to almost 270,000 megawatts of turbines.

Turbine makers from Vestas Wind Systems A/S, the biggest, to Spain’s Gamesa Corp. Tecnologica SA and India’s Suzlon Energy Ltd. have been buffeted by the loss of subsidies in three of the seven biggest markets. In the U.S., a cash-grant program ended last year and a tax credit expires in December, while Spain suspended clean-energy incentives in January and an Indian tax break for wind farms is set to expire on March 31.

“The reasons for the downgrade are regulatory uncertainty in the U.S., India and Spain,” Robert Clover, an analyst with Make, said today in a phone interview. In North America, the expiring U.S. incentives led to “a certain amount of demand being pulled forward, which will lead to a drop-off next year.”

BTM forecast delays in extending or replacing the U.S. tax credit will cut 2013 installations by about 9 percent to 7,500 megawatts, said Aris Karcanias, one of the report’s authors.

“We’re anticipating an extension,” Karcanias said today in an interview. “There will be a bit of a delay to activity in the U.S. until that’s resolved.”

Vestas on Top

Spain, which in 2009 was the top wind turbine installer in Europe, according to Global Wind Energy Council data, this year suspended subsidies to new renewable installations as it reins in spending. The European share of new wind power fell last year to 24.5 percent of the global total from more than half five years ago, according to BTM.

Vestas remained the world’s largest wind turbine maker with 12.9 percent of the market in 2011, BTM said. It topped Xinjiang Goldwind Science & Technology Co. with a 9.4 percent share. General Electric Co. was third with 8.8 percent, Gamesa was next at 8.2 percent and Enercon GmbH ranked fifth at 7.9 percent, Ringkoebing, Denmark-based BTM said today in an e-mailed statement. Sinovel Wind Group dropped to seventh from second.

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