General Electric Co. tied with Vestas Wind Systems A/S as the biggest turbine maker with less than 50 megawatts between them, unsettling the Danish maker’s 12-year hold on the title, Bloomberg New Energy Finance said.
GE, based in Fairfield, Connecticut, and Vestas each supplied about 5.7 gigawatts of turbines in 2012, according to the London-based researcher. Siemens AG was third, Enercon GmbH fourth and Suzlon Energy Ltd. of India fifth.
A tax incentive drove a record 13.6 gigawatts of installations in the U.S., where GE commissioned 96 percent of its turbines and Vestas sold 40 percent, its biggest market. Installations are set to plunge to 2.8 gigawatts this year after the subsidy expired Dec. 31, the researcher said.
“2012 was a great year for western manufacturers in terms of adding new capacity, particularly those with large exposure to the U.S. market,” said Justin Wu, head of wind analysis at BNEF. “Unfortunately, this boom was largely based on beating the deadline on an expiring subsidy and not on sustainable growth. As such, 2013 will look very different.”
Globally, a record 48.4 gigawatts of new wind was added in 2012, BNEF said. China Guodian Corp. overtook Iberdrola SA as the largest wind owner with 13.7 gigawatts installed at the end of 2012. Its lead is likely to extend as build-out in China continues, it said. BNEF expects Chinese owners to gain market share as domestic grid constraints ease and they seek overseas expansion, while U.S. and European installations fall.
Vestas will probably regain top position over GE as the U.S. market shrinks, BNEF said. The U.S. was also the largest customer for Siemens AG and Gamesa Corp. Tecnologica SA.
Previous rankings have split over who takes front position. Danish researcher Make Consulting placed Vestas ahead last year, while Navigant Consulting Inc.’s BTM Consult unit said GE’s market share beat Vestas. Both placed Siemens in third place.
While Congress extended the U.S. subsidy for a year on Jan. 1, there will probably be a drop in demand in 2013 because developers rushed through their plans to meet the deadline, BNEF said.