This is Wind Turbiner‘s breakdown of the top wind turbine manufacturers in 2018.
Wind turbine development and design predominantly occur in northern Europe. Out of that Denmark and Germany predominantly lead the way.
There are also plenty of Chinese and US wind turbine manufacturers. Although both of them buy designs from northern European companies.
In China’s case, this is via licensing deals. For example, Aerodyn-designed SCD wind turbines are built by Ming Yang.
In the US, GE has acquired every company it can lay its hands on. Converteam, LM Windpower, Scanwind (?!). In turn, it has one of the world’s biggest banks of intellectual property.
What you will get on this page
This page is a list of the top wind manufacturers based on their technology. There are plenty of leagues about wind turbine manufacturers out there such as Make, BTM Navigant, and so on.
Most of them are based on sales for the previous year.
The only league that is designed around the wind turbines themselves, was created by the renewable energy networking app OnGreentech.
Although the site has now closed we will be putting out a report with its findings on over 100 wind turbines.
It allowed people to vote on existing turbines both old and new. This was then averaged out for each manufacturer into an overall score.
Top Wind Turbine Manufacturers
1. Enercon — supposedly the Apple of wind
Somehow, Enercon has been known as the Apple of wind power. In some ways, this is quite apt.
For a start, it is perhaps best known within the industry for doing its own thing. A good example of this is its refusal to join the offshore rush in the late-2000s.
Another is its refusal to enter the US market.
Time has proved both of them to be good financial decisions.
On the other hand, it also spent time and effort developing the E126 7.5MW. Regarded affectionately by the wind industry, it has hardly been a roaring success. And there are only a few installations in the Netherlands, France, and Germany.
So why is Enercon in first place?
It received most of its votes for recent EP4 turbine platform, with both the low wind and medium wind versions receiving a high proportion of votes.
The low wind version of the EP4 is the highest-rated wind turbine.
The other machine to receive the most votes is, of course given what I said above, the E126.
2. Vestas — Biggest Pure Player Wind Turbine Manufacturer
In second place is another pure player onshore manufacturer.
It is still the market leader but it is worth remembering that at one point, Vestas had around 30% market share. Currently, it is around the 13% mark.
Its main product is the V112 platform, which has been spun off into a number of other products covering various wind regimes.
This includes its highest-rated turbine the V126-3450, which was introduced in 2017 and has, or is due, to be installed in countries as far-flung as the Ukraine and Argentina.
Curiously, Vestas has retained a high rating for the V90 platform, which the V112 replaced.
When the V90 was launched in the mid-2000s Vestas suffered a few teething problems. The worst was the offshore 3MW version, which effectively ended Vestas position as the dominant offshore player. (Go here for our quiz on 3MW wind turbines.)
At the same time, there are a high number of V90s still in operation around the world producing electricity.
As stated above, one could almost say that GE is a patchwork of other wind power companies.
The biggest square on that quilt is French manufacturer Alstom, which is itself something of a patchwork company in terms of wind. It bought Spanish manufacturer Ecotecnia in the 2000s.
It is because of the Alstom acquisition, that GE found itself with the 6MW Haliade.
The Haliade is a next-generation offshore turbine, and for the purposes of this report, a high-ranking machine on OnGreentech.
Yet there are other popular turbines. GE’s highest-rated machine is the GE2.5-120. Dubbed the ‘Brilliant’ turbine, the low wind machine even comes with its own battery storage.
According to Philip Totaro founder of wind intellectual property specialist, GE is one of the world’s biggest holders of turbine IP. The other two being Vestas and Enercon.
4. Nordex Acciona
This one will probably raise some eyebrows among those people who are used to seeing the annual sales-based wind turbine leagues.
In terms of market share, Nordex is traditionally in tenth position. This is largely because it is a smaller wind turbine manufacturer, producing turbines for smaller projects that are in the 50MW range.
However, since around 2010 with the installation of former CEO Jurgen Zeschky, Nordex reinvented itself as a low wind specialist.
This was at a time when wind manufacturers were expending a lot of effort on offshore development. In fact, on arrival Zeschky made the brave decision to cancel Nordex’s own 6MW offshore wind turbine
Unsurprisingly then, it is Nordex’s low and medium wind turbines that have pushed it up into this position.
It received good ratings for its N117 2.3MW and N117 3MW low and medium wind turbines respectively.
But it scored better for the N131 3.6MW turbine, which is a low wind machine and one of the first to break the 130-metre rotor diameter barrier.
Last year, Nordex merged with Acciona Windpower. However, only the AW3000, which is predominantly used in Latin America, was the only Acciona machine to score highly.
To be clear, this fourth position is based on the Nordex end of the operation rather than the other way around.
5. Siemens Gamesa
More evidence of the consolidation in the wind turbine sector. Both Siemens and Gamesa were both highly thought of manufacturers prior to their merger last year.
There was an argument to split up the Gamesa and Siemens, as well as Gamesa’s offshore offshoot Adwen. Their turbine ranges and operations are still distinctly separate. But operationally the company is beginning to gel into one.
Siemens’ big claim to fame is as the dominant player in the offshore sector. Its 3.6MW offshore turbine is still the most widely installed offshore wind turbine in the world. It is in many projects throughout northern Europe.
Other well-regarded machines include its newer 3.6MW onshore turbine, which is designed for medium wind speeds. The 3.6MW windmill has a 130-metre rotor.
Of course, it is the 8MW offshore platform that is Siemens biggest scorer. The machine looks set to replace the 3.6MW as Siemens’ most popular offshore turbine.
A quick note. Gamesa’s presence here is purely down to its history and the fact it is still in the early stages of being wrapped into Siemens.
Gamesa has been one of wind power’s preeminent names. Despite problems in its home market (Spain made drastic cuts to its subsidies post-2010) it has thrived in India, China, and Latin America.
The company also set up offshore manufacturer Adwen as part of a joint venture with Areva.
Gamesa later bought Areva’s share. Shortly after this, it announced its merger with Siemens to create Siemens Gamesa.
Despite its foray into offshore, it is really its low wind 2.5MW machines, which have made the greatest commercial impact.
However, in terms of its position here. Gamesa’s highest-scoring machines have been the 5MW platform. Both the G128-5000 and the G132-5000 have done well.
Formerly known as Repower, Senvion developed the first offshore wind turbine with a capacity of over 5MW. Since then that platform has been expanded to 6.2MW.
As well as being the only pure player wind manufacturer in offshore wind, Senvion produces turbines across a number of different wind conditions. The platforms are 2MW, 3.4MW, and 6MW.
In this case, Senvion’s ratings have been spread evenly between all of its turbine platforms.
But there were questions about the company’s long-term future when it was acquired by private equity company Bridgepoint in 2014 from Indian manufacturer Suzlon.
However, the company is developing new machines including one for the offshore sector. It has strong markets in Germany, the UK, and Canada.
MHI-Vestas is another company to be created from a joint venture. In 2013, both MHI and Vestas were creating next-generation turbines. In MHI’s case it was the 7MW Sea Angel and with Vestas the MHI-Vestas V164.
The V164 became the winner, although two Sea Angels have been installed. One of them in Scotland and another on a floating foundation in Japan.
In terms of OnGreentech points, the V164 is one of the biggest scorers. It is the only turbine to have gone beyond 9.5MW. However, MHI-Vestas also sells an offshore version of Vestas’ V112 turbine.
MHI-Vestas is one of two major choices when it comes to buying offshore in western Europe.
China has the largest wind capacity in the world. Yet despite this, only Goldwind is in the top 10.
As stated above, this is largely down with the protectionist nature of the Chinese market. Chinese manufacturers are have a large global market share because China has the world’s largest installed base of wind turbines.
Additionally, geographical concerns play a part with manufacturers picked depending on location.
That said, Goldwind is an extremely well-regarded company. It has made a concerted effort to gain a foothold in overseas markets, most notably the US.
The company’s turbines are also well-regarded. Designed by German subsidiary Vensys, they are based on sound design and good manufacturing. In this case, the 1.5MW low wind turbine has been a big scorer for the company.
There you have it, the top wind turbine manufacturers in 2018 (so far).
A word of note. This page will be updated in future. The OnGreentech rankings are rolling so things will surely change.
However, my biggest concern is the effect of consolidation on the sector. Will it lead to less development?
It is difficult to say.
There are new plans afoot to go beyond 10MW with new designs. While innovations continue to occur in incremental yet important areas like offshore foundation design.
A root, it is the industry and the support it receives that will determine what happens.
But my thinking is, with so many coal plants being switched off, and the shift to smart cities is that wind has a big part to play.
As a final note on this, if you want to go up in one of these machines check out this post on wind turbine technician training.