Record wind turbine orders defy COVID gloom

Driven primarily by some frenetic activity in the US and China as well as the relentless rise in global demand for clean energy, the total capacity of wind turbines commissioned last years surged by 56% to 96.7GW, despite the economic fall out from COVID-19. By contrast, new offshore wind capacity fell by 13% Just four manufacturers accounted for more than half of the machines deployed, according to a report from the BNEF research company, with General Electric (GE), Vestas, Goldwind and Envision all commissioning over 10 gigawatts last year, as the gap widened between the leading manufacturers and smaller players.

Expect more of the same in In the medium term. According to a separate report from Grand View Research , the global wind power market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 5.2% between 2020 to 2027 as the need to replace conventional sources of energy with renewable alternatives intensifies and the cost of of building solar and wind power generation stations continues to drop.

Jiuquan Wind Power Base
Carlos Barria/Reuters

As witnessed by the hundreds of wind turbines now scattered along the thousand-mile stretch of water that runs from north of Shanghai down to Hong Kong, China is now the world leader in new offshore wind installations and is expected to reach 52GW capacity by 2030. It has also been striving to lead the way onshore, but with mixed success. The Jiuquan Wind Power Base that looms out of the sands on the fringes of the Gobi Desert is the world’s largest wind farm, but remains unfinished and some turbines are reported to have even been switched off due to low demand. This is almost certainly due to their remote location. Most of the newly commissioned wind turbines are located in the eastern provinces of Guangdong, Fujian and particularly Jiangsu.

In the US, new wind turbines added 16.9 GW of wind power capacity to the grid  last year, enough to power more than five million American homes. In the fourth quarter alone,. project owners commissioned 54 new wind projects across 20 states, including two of the largest single-phase wind projects in US history in New Mexico and Texas.