Danish wind turbine manufacturer Vestas retained its title as the largest global supplier in the space last year, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, with Siemens Gamesa coming in a close second in a bumper year for the wind power industry. 

According to Tuesday’s report, the total of commissioned projects jumped from 50 gigawatts in 2018 to 61 gigawatts last year. The 2020 tally could reach as high as 75 gigawatts.

Vestas’ market share of commissioned turbines last year fell from 22 to 18 percent, or 9.6 gigawatts, BNEF said. Meanwhile, a spike in offshore wind commissions for Siemens Gamesa bumped it from fourth place in 2018 to second place last year, with 8.8 gigawatts. 

Chinese firm Goldwind was third in the rankings with 8.3 gigawatts, while GE Renewable Energy's global tally of 7.4 gigawatts secured it fourth place. The top four manufacturers together accounted for 55 percent of the market.

Offshore wind jumped to 12 percent of the entire market in 2019. It's worth noting that MHI Vestas, the company’s offshore wind unit, is not included as part of Vestas’ total figures. Mitsubishi and Vestas are equal partners in this venture, and the BNEF methodology only includes contributions from majority-owned partnerships. 

“Underpinning each of the leading onshore players is a strong presence in either the U.S. or China,” said Oliver Metcalfe, wind analyst at BNEF and lead author of the report.

“2020 is set to be another strong year for installations in China and the U.S., as developers rush to build before subsidies lapse, but uncertainty post-2020 could expose some bigger players unless they diversify to new growth markets,” Metcalfe said.

That final point has been dragged into play for 2020 and beyond.

The coronavirus question mark

Manufacturers that are heavily reliant on China as an end market could face further challenges if the outbreak of COVID-19 continues to impact the sector. According to Goldwind’s 2018 annual report, 93 percent of its revenue from external customers originated in mainland China.

Both the U.S. and China are in the final year of their current support regimes, making the impact of delayed projects all the more painful.

Wood Mackenzie senior consultant Xiaoyang Li said certain components, including turbine blades and main bearings, are already in short supply.

“In a best-case scenario, the epidemic is contained and production resumes by the end of March. In a bear case, the epidemic could continue to impact the supply chain well into the middle of the year,” said Li.

“Based on these two possibilities, we estimate production delays across the wind turbine supply chain will result in a 10 to 50 percent decrease in 2020 wind installations in China, compared to our Q4 2019 wind power outlook, which was at 28 gigawatts capacity.”

The implications for installs are less pronounced beyond China where domestic supply chains and alternative export markets such as India and Vietnam are expected to be able to fill the gap.

The U.S. market could be slightly more impaired. Existing supply issues have been brought on by the surge of projects looking to start operation before the end of 2020 and be eligible for 100 percent of the Production Tax Credit. The PTC is worth around $24 per megawatt-hour for 10 years.

Projects that start up in 2021 will receive 80 percent of the PTC.