US key to GE top wind ranking – EER

General Electric relied on the United States for 75% of its 6.688GW in total wind capacity deliveries in 2012, up from 59% the previous year, helping it overtake Vestas as the leading global turbine supplier, according to a report Friday by IHS Emerging Energy Research (EER).

GE’s rise to the top largely resulted from its success with its 1.5x platform and large US customers including BP Wind Energy, Caithness, E.ON Climate & Renewables, Invenergy, NextEra Energy Resources and TradeWind Energy.

GE relied primarily on its five largest customers for more than 70% of its US turbine deliveries, with each of the five taking more than 500MW. That was more capacity than the company delivered to any other market, according to EER.

Incremental upgrades to the 1.5x platform such as the 1.68MW and 1.6-100 models accounted for more than 43% of GE’s US turbine deliveries.

Last year, GE also delivered 435MW to Brazil, 263MW to China and 257MW to Romania. Its other markets were Turkey, Canada, India and Poland with 2% each of worldwide deliveries, and smaller amounts to several other countries.

GE has been the US market leader since it took over Enron’s wind energy business a decade ago.

GE’s heavy dependence on its home market could cause it to relinquish the global top spot in 2013, with US deliveries from all vendors expected to sharply decline from a record 13.1GW in 2012 to between 2MW and 4.5MW this year.

Vestas, the second place global wind capacity supplier in 2012, delivered 6.039GW of turbines to a much more diverse geographic base than GE. Deliveries to the US accounted for 22% of global deliveries. However, US shipments last year declined 15%, or 239MW, even though total installations there almost doubled from 2011, according to EER.

Vestas’ top markets in 2012 were the US, 1.313GW; Germany, 591MW; Sweden, 525MW, and Italy, 452MW.

 The consultancy notes that Vestas’ geographic diversity may prove to be a valuable asset. But it faces growing competition in many of its newer markets such as Brazil. Vestas also will be unable to dramatically boost its global share by relying on less mature markets such as South Africa which lack critical mass.

Vestas, which has been in the US for more than three decades, has generally been number two to GE there for the past decade. It faces a growing challenge from Siemens, which ousted it from the second spot twice in the past three years.

Vestas remains the US market leader in the 3MW platform category, but did not deliver any turbines in the increasingly popular 2MW to 2.5MW range, where Siemens and GE have come on strong.