Global turbine orders rise in 2020 despite early Covid-19 slump

Even though turbine purchasing slumped in the first five months of the year as the coronavirus pandemic hit, it recovered in the last seven months to push 2020's firm onshore order total above 2019 figures

Turbine purchasing increased last year despite the coronavirus pandemic (pic credit: Vestas)
Turbine purchasing increased last year despite the coronavirus pandemic (pic credit: Vestas)

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Turbine purchasing activity increased last year, defying concerns that the coronavirus pandemic might have sapped market confidence, according to provisional data collated by Windpower Intelligence.

For 2020 as a whole, Windpower Intelligence recorded almost 26GW of firm onshore orders for the top five western turbine manufacturers – Vestas, Siemens Gamesa, Nordex, GE and Enercon – 10% up on 2019. 

The fourth quarter was particularly buoyant, with the five OEMs between them reporting firm onshore orders of nearly 9.1GW.

This was around 20% up on Q3 and 40% up on the 6.4GW recorded in Q4 2019.

It followed a downturn in reported turbine purchase agreements in the spring, before activity recovered in the summer and autumn months.

The five OEMs’ reported onshore orders in Q4 2020 came from 22 different countries.

The US was the most active market, accounting for almost 2.2GW, with Brazil and Colombia contributing a further 2GW and 500MW, respectively.

Sweden (640MW) and Vietnam (577MW) completed the top five markets in Q4. As yet, accurate data for Chinese TPAs in Q4 remain unavailable. 

Full-year

On a country-by-country basis, Windpower Intelligence recorded 5.4GW of US onshore TPAs in 2020 for the five OEMs. This was, however, 35% down on the total recorded in 2019.

Brazil’s 3.5GW total was was up 53% on 2019, while Vietnam’s recorded total soared to 2.7GW.

China (1.8GW) and Sweden (1.5GW) completed the top five largest markets last year, up 42% and 49% respectively. Western OEMs traditionally have a small market share in China, which is dominated by domestic manufacturers.

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