Global turbine orders rise in 2020 despite Covid concerns

Turbine purchasing activity increased last year, defying concerns that the coronavirus pandemic might have sapped market confidence, according to a report

February 2021

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, says a report in Windpower Monthly.

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 per cent 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 per cent up on Q3 and 40 per cent 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 Orders

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 per cent down on the total recorded in 2019.

Brazil’s 3.5GW total was was up 53 per cent 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 per cent and 49 per cent respectively. Western OEMs traditionally have a small market share in China, which is dominated by domestic manufacturers.


European orders jump

European countries ordered 15 GW of new wind turbines last year, an increase of 74 per cent against 2019.

Despite the ongoing pandemic, both onshore and offshore orders saw an increase in sales, according to WindEurope.

The UK ordered the most wind turbine capacity, 4.4 GW, followed by the Netherlands, with 2.4 GW, and Sweden, with 1.4 GW.

 Sweden ordered the most onshore turbines, followed by the United Kingdom and the Netherlands. For offshore wind, the most capacity was ordered by the UK, which was followed by the Netherlands.

France and Germany also ordered a significant amount of offshore turbines, but stalling wind energy expansion in both countries led to lower orders than in previous years, WindEuropehas said on its website.


Onshore orders grew 13 PC

European countries ordered 8.2 GW of onshore wind turbines – a 13 per cent increase compared to 2019. Offshore orders grew six-fold compared to the previous year, to 6.4 GW, WindEurope’s Wind Turbine Order Monitoring 2020 reads.

The 104 orders came from 19 different countries over the year.

The full WindEurope Wind Turbine Order Monitoring 2020 includes additional details on new orders by wind turbine manufacturers, turbine models, average power ratings, and turbine specifications.


Over $16 bN capacity  in Q2

The second quarter of 2020 saw more than 17 GW of wind turbine capacity ordered globally. This equates to an estimated $16 billion, according to new analysis from Wood Mackenzie.

As noted in Wood Mackenzie’s research, Q2 2020 global wind turbine order intake decreased 45 per cent when compared with Q2 2019. Despite this YoY decline, Q2 2020 order intake still represented a solid haul and exceeded Q2 order intake for 2016, 2017 and 2018.

The US and China combined for a nearly 18 GW drop in Q2 YoY order capacity. This follows a record 2019 where developers in these regions accumulated a robust backlog ahead of policy changes scheduled for the year ahead.

A wave of offshore demand in the second quarter of this year, located in countries such as the UK, the Netherlands and France, helped to lift overall turbine order capacity despite a drop in the US and China. Global offshore order intake captured 38 per cent – or 6.5 GW – of all Q2 orders, which is an increase of 40 per cent YoY.


Total global firm orders

“Chinese developers ordered more than 2 GW of offshore turbine capacity for the sixth consecutive quarter, with Envision capturing 66 per cent of Q2 demand in China.

“SGRE and MHI Vestas each landed more than a gigawatt of orders in Europe for new offshore turbine models rated over 10 MW.

“This flurry of orders for 10 MW+ turbines in Q2 helped to lift the average rating of global offshore orders to 7.5 MW.

“Developers continue to seek higher-rated onshore models to maximize site constraints, with SGRE Vestas and Nordex capturing all demand in Q2 for onshore models rated 5 MW or higher,” said Luke Lewandowski, Wood Mackenzie Research Director.

SGRE edged ahead of Vestas for announced global wind turbine order intake in Q2, for both onshore and offshore, reaching 4.1 GW. 

“Although SGRE topped the list for overall global turbine order intake, Vestas’ V150-4.2 won top onshore model for consecutive quarters after a particularly strong Q2 in Asia Pacific excluding China.

“In the offshore sector, Envision’s impressive haul in Q2 for its EN-161 5.2 model led to the company taking top spot for Q2, coming in slightly ahead of SGRE,” added Lewandowski.  

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