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Wind bracing itself for slower 2009

Emerging Energy Research’s (EER) 2008 Wind Turbine Market Share Update shows that banking on long-term growth, turbine manufacturers push capacity investments while bracing for slower 2009.

The EER update reveals a 2008 global wind turbine market in which high demand and supply chain backlogs offered plenty of room for all: established players averaged installation growth of more than 50%, while several newer players saw installations jump by 100% and more.

Although the landmark year helped new competitors such as Sinovel, Dongfang, and Clipper make modest inroads into the leaders’ market share, the wind turbine market remains dominated by Vestas, GE, Gamesa, Enercon, Suzlon, and Siemens who, as a group, accounted for 70% of last year’s installations.

Buoyed by 2007’s bursting order books, wind turbine manufacturers installed almost 11 GW more turbines in 2008 than in the previous year – totalling nearly 30 GW of wind turbines activated during the year, almost double the volume in 2006, with the USA and China accounting for 48% of that amount.

“The battle for market share is expected to intensify in 2009-2010 as the economic slowdown continues and as local suppliers in the United States and China ramp production,” says Keith Hays, EER Research Director.

With more than 15 wind turbine vendors scrambling to take business from the big 6, players with diversified order books are best positioned to grow in 2009 as the slowdown will be felt most acutely in the USA, a market that weighs heavily in the order books of the major vendors.

At the same time, China remains less impacted by the recession; steady performance can be expected from China’s growing number of local wind turbine suppliers as well as global players—such as Vestas, Nordex, and Gamesa—with an existing foothold in that market.

Investments and plant capacity expansion point to a collective optimism on the part of many manufactures for the long-term market, despite their expectations for modest growth in 2009.

"The industry saw record installations in 2008 even though new production facilities had not yet come on-line in the US and China,” says Hays. “With an improving market in 2010, manufacturers with capacity expansion plans, such as Acciona, Gamesa, Suzlon, Siemens, and Vestas, will be well-positioned for the recovery, although full utilisation will depend on their ability to demonstrate flexibility in pricing and delivery terms.”

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