World turbine market to reach $162 billion in 2016

The world market for turbines and related products (turbine-based engines, generators and generator sets) is expected to rise 6.4 percent annually to $162 billion in 2016. The global wind turbine market expanded sevenfold between 2001 and 2011 to become the single largest turbine product segment, overtaking turbine engines. Wind turbines will continue to be the fastest growing turbine product type through 2016, but a much higher base of existing capacity will limit the growth rate to a more moderate level.

These and other trends are presented in World Turbines, a new study from The Freedonia Group, Inc., a Cleveland-based industry market research firm. Between 2006 and 2011, the turbine market in China posted a 27 percent annual growth rate, by far the fastest in the world.  The largest of these gains occurred in the wind turbine market, which saw demand multiply by a factor of nearly 15.

China has become the largest market for wind turbines in the world, accounting for 43 percent of the existing global capacity in MW terms at year-end 2011. The fastest growth in turbine demand will occur in Australia, which is investing heavily in wind power.

The US, which is the second largest national market for turbine products behind China, will grow at an average pace through 2016, aided by an expanding market for gas turbines in power generation applications, continued healthy gains in demand for wind turbines, and an acceleration in new aircraft production.

Mexico, fueled by increasing development of wind power, will be the second fastest growing market for turbine products worldwide.  Western Europe will remain the slowest growing regional market, largely due to the maturity of its wind energy sector. However, the region still holds significant potential for offshore wind power, and gains in wind turbine demand will accelerate relative to the 2006-2011 pace.

Demand for gas combustion turbines is expected to accelerate to a 7.3 percent annual growth rate through 2016.  The market for gas turbines will benefit from a transition from coal to natural gas for electric power generation. In North America, the development of shale resources in the US has led to significantly lower gas prices in recent years, allowing gas-fired and combined-cycle plants to take on an expanded role in power generation. The continued transition away from coal will lead to increased investment in natural gas plants, spurring expanded demand for gas turbines.