Western original equipment manufacturers, predominantly from Europe, still hold sway over the global wind market despite a host of Chinese competitors, new figures show. 

According to the latest Global Wind Turbine OEM Market Share report from Wood Mackenzie’s MAKE Consulting, there are seven Chinese firms versus seven Western firms in the top 15 by market share, with India’s Suzlon completing the mix. 

But the Western players, which include first-place Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy (SGRE) and second-place Vestas, hold almost 58 percent of the global market, compared to less than 29 percent for Chinese concerns. Other brands add roughly 13 percent. 

And while MAKE made out Beijing-based Goldwind to be the third-ranked wind OEM in 2017, rising above GE with a 10.4 percent share compared to GE’s 8.4 percent, it was the only Chinese name in the top five. 

European manufacturers held around half the global market between them. Perhaps just as importantly, Chinese OEMs held an insignificant amount of global capacity outside of China. 

Taking China’s market out of the picture, there was only one Chinese OEM, Goldwind, in the global top 10. And it occupied the last place on the list, with only a 1 percent share, lagging behind loss-making Indian manufacturer Inox Wind and offshore-only MHI Vestas. 

The MAKE figures reveal a number of significant moves that took place in 2017. 

SGRE, for example, exploited a broad geographical presence and leadership in both onshore and offshore markets to add 8.8 gigawatts of new capacity, grow its market share by 3.3 percent and comfortably overtake Vestas at the top of the OEM ranking. 

GE, meanwhile, ceded its No. 3 position to Goldwind after losing 4.5 percent in market share. 

The U.S. manufacturer was hit by sluggish demand in its home market as its two top customers, NextEra and Invenergy, “had transition years and barely added any capacity with GE turbines,” said Luke Lewandowski, research manager at MAKE.

German OEM Enercon, meanwhile, managed to increase its year-on-year share “due to a higher level of capacity in major European markets like Germany, France and the U.K.,” said the report, “but experienced a dismal year in the Americas.”

One of the most interesting moves, however, was almost out of view in the Chinese market. The country’s leading OEM, Goldwind, struggled to maintain market share, going from 27.7 percent in 2016 to 26.9 percent in 2017. 

Meanwhile, a serious contender emerged in the shape of Shanghai-headquartered Envision, which more than doubled its market share from 8.1 percent in 2016 to 17.4 percent last year.

The increase was partly due to an aggressive growth strategy and partly due to the firm benefiting from the right market conditions. 

"Envision's track record and client relations in low-wind speed regions coincided with China's push for low-wind speed growth in recent years," stated the MAKE report.

Still, it’s not bad for a company that wasn’t even operating a decade ago. “Envision over the last few years has been climbing the rankings like mad,” said Shanghai-based Shane Sun, head of APAC wind power at MAKE. 

Goldwind and Envision now share more than 44 percent of the Chinese market. The rest of the market is split between a slew of mostly national names, such as United Power, Mingyang and CSIC Haizhuang. 

Sun said there are more than 20 OEMs in the market. In any other country, this mass of small, competing players would be a fertile ground for consolidation. But “China is a very different market in many ways,” said Sun. 

The potential for consolidation is limited, he explained, because many of the Tier 3 and 4 players are subsidiaries of much larger industrial concerns that may have political motives for staying in the wind game, regardless of whether it makes much business sense. 

Globally, Lewandowski said appetite for further consolidation was likely to be limited, too. 

Although the European OEM Senvion last November signaled interest in a merger, potentially with an Asian rival, after the tie-ups between GE and Alstom in 2015 and Siemens and Gamesa in 2016, “I doubt that anything is imminent,” said Lewandowski.