For as long as the wind industry has been viable, it has firmly been led by one company: Vestas Wind Systems, based in Denmark.
For the past 12 years, Vestas pioneered and then led the wind industry, even with the rise of stiff competition, instead of turning over to big conglomerates.
After a couple of very hard years for Vestas, however, General Electric may have taken over as the biggest turbine maker in the world.
Although Make Consulting still gives Vestas an edge with a 14.6 percent market share compared to GE's 13.7 percent, BTM Consulting contends Vestas holds a 14 percent market share, supplanted by GE's 15.5 percent.
Either way, Vestas is close to losing its lead, if it hasn't already.
GE is the leading supplier in the U.S., benefiting from last year's surge in wind farm construction. But that could be a problem in 2013, when the market is expected to be down significantly.
In 2012 GE shipped 5,000 turbines, double that of the previous two years. This year, however, it only plans to ship 3,000, reflecting the drop in the world market that's affecting the industry.
Although GE is expanding in India, pushing competitors like Suzlon and Vestas out, it could be muscled out of Latin America by China. GE made a key equity investment in Greenko, which plans to build 1 gigawatt of wind in India.
Other top turbine manufacturers
Both studies agree that Siemens holds third place with 10.8 percent of the market, according to Make, and 9.5 percent according to BTM. It rose from ninth place in 2011.
Next comes Spain's Gamesa with 8.2 percent, followed by Germany's Enercon (7.8 percent), India's Suzlon (6.5 percent); Goldwind; Guodian United Power; Sinovel Wind and Guangdong Mingyang Wind Power.
Compare this with 2011 rankings for the top 10.
Even with last year's policy uncertainty in many countries, wind installations grew to record highs in 2012, with the U.S. leading China for the first time in years. More than 60 percent of new wind capacity was in the U.S. and China, says BTM Consult.
While the cost for wind energy is at all-time lows, the rise of cheaper natural gas has made it hard to compete for now.
This article originally appeared at Sustainable Business News and is reprinted with permission.
Wind turbine image by claffra via Shutterstock