How Big Is The Wind Turbine Industry?

How big is the wind turbine industry?

Wind turbines harness the power of the wind to generate electricity. They consist of blades that capture kinetic energy from the wind, converting it into mechanical power to drive an electrical generator. Wind turbines are an integral part of the global renewable energy industry. According to Mordor Intelligence, the global wind turbine market was valued at over $80 billion in 2022 and is expected to grow to over $155 billion by 2028 [1]. The industry has seen rapid growth in recent years as countries seek to increase renewable energy production and reduce carbon emissions. Though dominated by large utility-scale wind farms, small wind turbines are also growing in popularity for residential and commercial use. This article will provide an overview of the wind turbine industry, including major manufacturers, employment, and future trends.

Global Wind Energy Production

Wind power has grown dramatically in recent decades to become an important source of renewable energy worldwide. According to the Global Wind Energy Council, the total installed global wind energy capacity reached 743 GW by the end of 2020, producing around 1,273 terawatt-hours of electricity annually 1. This is roughly equal to the annual electricity consumption of Japan.

The level of electricity generated from wind turbines has increased more than tenfold in the past decade. In 2020 alone, 93 GW of new wind power capacity was added globally, representing a 53% year-on-year growth. Wind power now provides 14% of global electricity demand and is considered one of the most important renewable energy sources for power generation worldwide.

Top Wind Energy Producing Countries

China currently leads the world in total installed wind energy capacity. According to the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC), China had over 336 GW of wind power capacity at the end of 2021, representing over a third of the global total. This is more than double the capacity of the next largest market, the United States. China has invested heavily in wind power over the past decade and added nearly 57 GW of new capacity in 2021 alone.

The United States ranks second globally with over 134 GW of wind power capacity as of 2021. Wind accounted for over 9% of total U.S. electricity generation in 2020. Texas leads the U.S. with over 35 GW of wind capacity. Other top states include Iowa, Oklahoma, California, and Kansas.

Germany comes in third with nearly 64 GW of installed capacity. Wind power generates around 25% of Germany’s total electricity demand. Germany was an early pioneer in wind energy adoption and still leads in terms of per capita wind capacity.

India and Spain round out the top 5 countries with over 40 GW and 28 GW of wind capacity respectively. Other countries with significant wind power penetration include the United Kingdom, France, Brazil, Canada, Sweden, and Australia.

Overall, the top 10 countries account for over 80% of global installed wind capacity. As wind technology improves and costs continue to decline, more countries are expected to ramp up investments in wind energy. (

Wind Turbine Manufacturing Market

The global wind turbine manufacturing market is dominated by a handful of major players. As of 2021, the top 5 wind turbine suppliers were Goldwind, Vestas, Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy, GE Renewable Energy, and Enercon, which together accounted for over 75% of the total market share.

Goldwind edged out Vestas for the #1 spot in 2021, capturing 15.7% of the global wind turbine market compared to Vestas’ 14.7% share. Goldwind’s rise to the top can be attributed to its dominant position in China, which is the world’s largest market for new wind turbine installations. Siemens Gamesa took the #3 position with 14.2% market share, followed by GE Renewable Energy at 13.3% and Enercon at 12.5%.

The manufacturing market remains concentrated among these major players, who leverage economies of scale, global footprint, and technology innovations to maintain their competitive positions. However, there are signs of increasing competition from Chinese manufacturers like Mingyang and Envision, which are expanding internationally. The offshore wind sector is also still led by Siemens Gamesa and Vestas, but GE and new entrants aim to gain share in this growing segment.

Average Size of Wind Turbines

The average size of wind turbines has significantly increased over the past few decades. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), in the early 1980s, the average wind turbine was less than 50 kW. By 2006, the largest commercially available wind turbines were 5 MW. More recent data shows that the average turbine size in the United States in 2019 was 2.38-2.65 MW.

Many of today’s newly installed wind turbines are in the range of 2-4 MW. The power output of a wind turbine is directly related to the swept area of its blades. Therefore, as blade lengths have increased, so has average turbine size. Modern utility-scale wind turbines often have blade lengths over 60 meters. With larger rotors, turbines can capture more wind energy and generate more electricity.

The trend toward larger turbines is expected to continue as manufacturers aim to maximize power production while minimizing costs. Larger turbines also allow wind farm developers to install fewer overall turbines while maintaining the same total power output. However, there are logistical challenges with extremely large turbines, such as transportation difficulties.

Offshore Wind Energy Growth

Offshore wind energy has seen rapid growth in recent years as countries seek to expand renewable energy production. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), the global offshore wind capacity grew by 35% in 2021 to reach 59,009 MW across 292 projects and over 11,900 turbines [1]. Europe accounts for the bulk of existing offshore wind farms, but growth is accelerating in Asia and North America.

Offshore wind farms are increasing in size as technology improves. The average turbine installed in 2021 had a capacity of 6-8 megawatts (MW), double the average size a decade ago. Larger turbines paired with economies of scale have reduced offshore wind costs by 9-13% annually since 2010. The world’s largest offshore wind farm is Hornsea 2 in the UK, which began operations in 2022 with a capacity of 1.3 gigawatts (GW), which can power over 1 million homes [2].

Floating offshore wind technology is an emerging growth area, allowing wind farms to be installed further from shore in deeper waters previously inaccessible. Total floating offshore capacity could reach 25 GW by 2030 according to projections [3]. This will open up vast new areas for offshore wind development.

Small Wind Turbines

Small wind turbines, also known as small wind energy systems, have much lower capacities than utility-scale turbines and are mainly used to power homes, farms, businesses and even for sailboats. According to the American Wind Energy Association, small wind turbines have rotor diameters less than 100 feet and rated capacities of 100 kilowatts or less [1]. The key advantages of small wind turbines are their reduced capital costs and ability to be installed on existing sites or properties with available wind resources.

Small wind turbines are best suited for rural, remote, and suburban locations such as homes, farms, schools, and commercial areas that are not connected to the electric grid. They can be used to offset electricity purchased from the utility or even sell back excess electricity to the grid in net metering programs. Small wind turbines have become an attractive option for distributed renewable energy generation due to declining costs and improved reliability and performance. According to one market research report, the global small wind turbine market size was valued at USD 289.7 million in 2022 and is projected to reach USD 578.9 million by 2030, growing at a CAGR of 8.5% [2].

Wind Turbine Blade Production

The global wind turbine blade production market was valued at $3.5 billion in 2018 and is expected to reach over $4.5 billion by 2022 (Source). Wind turbine blades, which are made primarily from lightweight yet durable composite materials like fiberglass and carbon fiber, account for around 20-25% of the total cost of a wind turbine system.

China is the world’s largest producer of wind turbine blades, representing over 50% of global blade production in 2018. Other major wind turbine blade manufacturing countries include Denmark, Germany, India, Spain and the United States (Source). The largest wind turbine blade manufacturers include LM Wind Power, Vestas, Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy, TPI Composites, and Enercon.

The average length of wind turbine blades has increased from around 16 meters in the 1990s to over 60 meters for today’s largest offshore turbines. Longer blades can capture more wind energy, but they are more difficult and expensive to manufacture, transport and install.

Wind Turbine Industry Employment

The wind turbine industry provides a significant number of jobs worldwide. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of wind turbine technicians in the United States is projected to grow 45% from 2022 to 2032, much faster than the average for all occupations. In 2021, the American Wind Energy Association estimated that the U.S. wind industry employed over 120,000 full-time workers. This includes workers involved in onsite and offsite manufacturing, project development, construction and turbine installation, operations and maintenance, transportation and logistics, and other wind industry jobs. Globally, the International Renewable Energy Agency estimates there were 1.25 million jobs in the wind energy sector in 2021.

Most wind industry jobs are centered around the manufacturing and installation of wind turbines. Leading wind turbine manufacturers like Vestas, Siemens Gamesa, and GE provide thousands of manufacturing jobs. Construction and installation of wind farms also creates many temporary jobs. Once wind farms are operational, they require technicians for ongoing maintenance and operation.

With the continued growth of wind energy around the world, employment in the wind turbine industry is expected to continue growing rapidly in the coming years.

Future Outlook

The future projections for growth in the wind industry are promising. According to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Wind Vision report, wind has the potential to support over 600,000 jobs in manufacturing, installation, maintenance, and supporting services by 2050. The DOE projects installed wind capacity will reach 404 GW by 2050, supplying over 10% of U.S. electricity. Globally, wind capacity is expected to reach 2,110 GW by 2030 according to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).

However, some projections indicate lower growth than previously expected. A December 2022 Reuters article reported that consultancy Wood Mackenzie lowered its global wind installation forecast by 6% from 2021-2030 due to financial challenges in the U.S. market and a slowdown in China. Still, the overall trend points to continued expansion for wind energy production and the associated manufacturing and service industries.

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