Constructing and manufacturing wind turbines is a very complex process. It requires a lot of engineering expertize, precise and customized machinery and significant capital. That’s why the wind turbine manufacturing business isn’t really crowded yet, although the competition is much bigger and stronger now than it was a decade ago.
The first windmill, although very different and much more simple than wind turbines produced today, was made as early as 250 BC. It was the first case known to men of using wind energy to power a machine. Over time, windmills were redesigned and reconstructed in order to make them more efficient. The first windmill that was able to transform wind energy into electrical energy was made in Scotland by James Blyth, a scientist who made the first machine to charging batteries. The first wind turbine which actually was the basis for today’s ones was made in Ukraine (then USSR). It had a 100kW generator and it was 30 meters high. However, the first wind turbine which was connected to the grid was made in the United Kingdom by a company called “John Brown”.
Today, there are slightly over 50 companies who manufacture wind turbines. Of course, not all of them are capable of producing different types — most of them only have the equipment to make smaller wind turbines. Companies who are able to manufacture large commercial wind turbines are the ones who are financially doing very well and eat up a large portion of the market share. What follows is a compilation of the largest wind turbine manufacturers in the world today.
Vestas is the biggest wind turbine manufacturer in the world, with a market share of 12.7% (in 2011). Their market share in 2007 was 28%, but significantly decreased over a 2-year period because of the prominence of its competitors. It is headquartered in Aarhus, Denmark, but owns factories across the globe — from the United States, Spain, Romania to China and Australia. They employ over 20,000 people all over the world. The latest data show that wind turbines produced by Vestas can provide electricity for over 20 million people. Vestas’ revenue was just south of 7 billion euros, with a profit of around 150 million euros.
Sinovel is the biggest wind turbine producer in China, and the second biggest in the world. Their market share is 9%, but they plan to double it by 2014 through stronger presence in foreign markets. It is headquartered in Bejjing, China, but owns factories all across China.
Goldwind is the third biggest wind turbine manufacturer in the world. It is based in Urumqi, a city in the Xinjiang region of China. Their market share is 8.7%. They employ around 1,500 people across the world, although most of them in China. Their factories are spread all over the world.
Gamesa is a Spanish wind turbine manufacturer headquartered in a small city called Zamudio in northern Spain. Their market share is 8%, and they employ over 6,000 people. They have installed more than 10,000MW of prod, thus saving over 50 million tons of CO2 per annum.
Enercon is the largest German wind turbine producer, and fifth biggest in the world. They are based in Aurich, Germany, but their production facilities can be found in other parts of the world — Brazil, India, Canada, Turkey and Portugal. Their worldwide market share is 7.8%, but almost 60% within Germany. It employs more than 12,000 people. They are somewhat famous for clinching a huge deal with a British electrical company to provide them with wind turbines for the next few years.
GE Wind Energy is an American company which functions within the GE Energy branch of General Electric. Its headquarters are in Fairfield, Connecticut. With a market share of 7.7%, they are the sixth largest manufacturer in the world. In 2002, General Electric bought the wind energy department of the bankrupt Enron, thus increasing its production power. Today they produce various wind turbines ranging from 2-4MW.
Suzlon is a large Indian company with a worldwide market share of 7.6%, thus being the seventh biggest company in the world in this sector. The company is based in Pune, India and employs over 15,000 people. They have facilities and offices on all continents. Suzlon’s annual revenue is almost 6 billion USD.
Guodian is a Chinese manufacturer whose market share is 7.4%.
Siemens Wind Power is a Danish wind turbine production company with its production facilities and factories located in Brande, Denmark. However, the company is fully owned by Siemens, the German giant, and therefore the headquarters of Siemens Wind Power is in Hamburg, Germany. Their market share is 6.3% and they employ almost 8,000 people.
Ming Yang is the biggest wind turbine producer in China, but in the private sector. The company has developed ties with a German wind energy design firm, thus trying to increase their current worldwide market share of 3.6%. Headquartered in Guangdong, China, they employ around 5,000 people.
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