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GE replaced Vestas as the No. 1 wind turbine original equipment manufacturer in 2012, as the run-up to the anticipated production tax credit (PTC) deadline drove up installations in the U.S., where GE has a substantial market share, according to preliminary data released by BTM Consult, a division of Navigant Consulting.

GE held a 15% global market share in 2012, moving up from No. 3 in the rankings in 2011 to take the No. 1 position - a spot that had been held by Vestas since 2000. Rounding out the top five were Siemens (No. 3, up from No. 9); Enercon (No. 4, up from No. 5); and Suzlon (No. 5, up from No. 6).

Meanwhile, Goldwind fell out of the top five, despite a rapid ascent to No. 2 in 2011. Gamesa also dropped out of the top five, thanks to the moratorium in its home market of Spain. Sinovel also continued to drop in the rankings.

The study also found that wind turbine prices dropped by as much as 20% to 25% in Western markets and by more than 35% in China (compared with the 2008 peak prices) before stabilizing in 2012.

According to BTM Consult, turbine vendors are taking on more risk under tough market conditions in an effort to increase their market share of the growing turbine maintenance market - which will ultimately provide more stable margins and recurring revenues.

There also has been a shift in technology back to traditional doubly fed induction generators and toward medium-speed hybrid drives, BTM Consult observes.


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