Global wind turbine suppliers delivered a record-breaking amount of projects in 2021, with 30 manufacturers installing 104.7 gigawatts (GW) of wind power capacity last year despite the pandemic-caused disruptions and pressures from price increases and logistical woes.
In a statement, the Global Wind Energy Council said 29,234 wind turbines were installed worldwide by 30 wind manufacturers last year, 18 of which were from the Asia Pacific, and nine were from Europe.
“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,” GWEC CEO Ben Backwell said.
“However, as the UN Secretary General pointed out yesterday, governments need to urgently take action to kick start a much faster transition to renewables and remove barriers to deployment and investment, including cutting red tape and bureaucracy, fast-tracking grid investments and ensuring that markets adequately remunerate green energy instead of subsidising fossil fuels,” he added.
On the other hand, the council said companies have shown “worsening financial results” despite the record-breaking projects due to an “ultra-competitive” price environment, higher external costs, and continued bottlenecks that prevent the expansion of the wind energy sector.
It added that the world needs an additional wind generation of around 390GW by 2030 to keep the warming to 1.5 degrees celsius, citing the International Energy Agency, whilst its Global Wind Report 2022 found that installations need to quadruple by the same year to reach the target.
Backwell said that the struggle of the wind turbine manufacturers to make a profit, “does not put the world in a strong position” to scale up investment and reach the 390GW target annually.
GWEC said that the target could be achieved “with support for a market that delivers clean energy, clean jobs, and works in fossil-fuel-free financial markets.”
Feng Zhao, head of Strategy and Market Intelligence, said the number of turbine suppliers dropped from 35 in 2020 to 30 in 2021 due to further market consolidation on the supply side, whilst the top six wind manufacturers lost 3% market share last year as Tier 2 and 2 Chinese turbine manufacturers gained more market sharing during the installation rush there.
Zhao added that out of the global top 15 wind turbine suppliers last year, 10 were from China, but only two made it to the top five, the same as last year’s Top 15.
Denmark-based Vestas is the top turbine supplier, accounting for 17.7% of the new installations, followed by China’s Goldwind (11.8%), Siemens Gamesa (9.7%), China’s Envision (8.6%), and US’ GE Renewable Energy (8.5%).
“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 3 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,” Zhao said.