This market analysis of gas turbine powered electrical generation is based on a review of gas turbines either currently being produced or projected to be manufactured by the end of 2024. The data are based on several factors, such as order patterns, population growth, projections, financing, environmental and fuel concerns, and geopolitics.

Accordingly, Forecast International (FI) projects worldwide sales of 1,061 gas turbines for electrical power production in 2015, increasing steadily to 1,273 units by 2024. The value of production will be $21.431 billion in 2015, increasing to $24.392 billion by 2024.

As a total worldwide, FI sees the annual growth of gas turbine unit sales falling from 2.5% in 2015, to 1.4% in 2018, rebounding to 2.1% in 2018 and holding relatively steady around 3% over the next several years. Value of production will average 1.5% over the next 10 years, with the least growth period being in the span of 2017 to 2020 (Figure 1).

Gas turbines with a power output of 125 MW and larger will account for over 20% of unit production in the decade to come. In terms of value, this group will account for somewhere around 60% of overall market dollars.

Higher up the scale, given the current need for new baseload capacity, as well as for power plant capacity additions, the worldwide demand for gas turbine-based power plants using the latest technology will result in only a slight increase in production of big machines of 180 MW and larger. They can be expected to be procured strongly in areas such as China, North Korea, Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand, Brazil and the Middle East.

The overall outlook for the gas turbine business is influenced by political agendas, business trends and other factors. Perhaps the biggest transformation over the past decade has been in fuel use. In the U.S. power generation field, coal has lost its place as king due mostly to environmental policies, as well as more efficient methods of natural gas exploration and production.

Increased energy demand and the fear of global warming due to the emission of greenhouse gases had led to the development of more efficient power generation systems. Enter new gas turbine designs and higher sales of aeroderivatives, smaller turbines and microturbines.

With so many factors influencing the marketplace, it is useful to break the market down into unit sales and dollar value of sales according to turbine size ranges. This highlights a sharp contrast between the volume and the value segments

As shown in Figures 2 and 3, the majority of unit sales will come from small turbines and microturbines. Close to three quarters of the turbines bought and installed over the next decade, in fact, will be smaller than 50 MW. Those below 10 MW will account for almost half of all unit sales over that period and those below 3 MW (microturbines) amount to more than 20% of unit output. The modularity and flexibility of smaller turbines as well as their low emissions levels make them the preferred choice for hospitals, schools and other facilities. In addition, the microturbine market is likely to heat up after years of fairly modest sales.

But larger turbines, too, are selling well, especially in the 180 MW to 200 MW range. Some 12.9% of all unit sales over the next ten years from this segment is indicative of the fact that these machines are considered a relatively safe bet. Large turbines are primarily deployed with heat recovery units in combined cycle power plants (CCPP) with efficiencies of up to 60%. CCPPs will continue to be the workhorse of the power industry and will generate close to one quarter of unit sales in the coming decade.

A separate look at dollar value sales of gas turbines provides an entirely different perspective (Figures 4 and 5). Over the next decade, the bulk of investment will be on power generation in the range above 180 MW. The Iraq rebuilding efforts, for example, saw a surge in the market for quickly built generation. Deregulation within the power generation business and the changing mix of independent power producers, small power producers, and merchant power producers have also driven the gas turbine market in a positive direction.

While machines of 50 MW or larger will rack up less than one quarter of total unit volume, they will be responsible for almost 80% of dollars spent on gas turbines. Within that chunk, the 80 to 125 MW range and the above 200 MW bracket each scored less than 10% of dollar volume. The 125 MW to 180 MW slice fared better at 17.2%, but each of these segments paled in comparison to the 40.8% predicted for gas turbines in the 180 MW to 200 MW space. This indicates continuing market confidence in the F-class. The conservative nature of the turbomachinery industry appears to indicate that it will be some time before the larger and more expensive G-, H- and J-class machines rise to the top of the heap.

OEM breakdown

No single technology is going to meet all global energy demands. However, gas turbines are increasingly being sought after to solve many of the world’s energy problems and improve the efficiency and reliability of power projects.

Considering the demand for power projected for the next decade, there will be substantial growth and investment in gas turbines in many regions. In 1998, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) reported that gas turbines made up 15% of all U.S. power generation; current predictions say that 40% will be gas fired by 2020.

At the same time, OEMs have significantly improved the ratings of prime movers, steam generators and environmental control systems over the past few years. Thanks to technological breakthroughs, CCPPs are now pushing the 60% net efficiency (lower heating value) barrier.

In terms of overall share of unit sales, Solar dominates at 29%, followed by GE at 26%. After them come Kawasaki (15%), Siemens (14%) and MHI (8%) (Figure 6). Recent acquisitions by Siemens and MHI could well see both increase their sales presence as regards unit volume.

Once again, a shift to dollar value percent provides an entirely different view. GE rules the roost with 36%. It can look forward to adding Alstom sales (anticipated to be 13.67%) to its overall total. That gives Siemens at 20% and MHI at 18% a long way to catch up. In light of that, it makes sense that they would seek to improve their market position with the acquisitions of Rolls- Royce and Hitachi, respectively. But those deals will not boost their numbers anywhere near what GE appears to have gained from the Alstom merger (Figure 7).

Let’s end with a brief review of the top three OEMs:

General Electric

GE already has the lion’s share of the U.S. market and top position worldwide. While the company is expected to maintain its market leadership in the U.S., it is expanding its efforts overseas with its acquisition of Alstom and other initiatives.

Most of the growth in the power sector will be derived from developing nations. With GE’s extensive global presence and the conclusion of the Alstom deal, it is in a much better position to expand its business in developing markets, while also gaining ground in Europe.


Energy demand continues to grow on a global scale; by 2035 demand is forecast to be 1.3 times the current level. MHI’s sales are predicted to outperform the market throughout the decade. Given that the shale gas revolution is driving down natural gas prices, GTCC demand is expected to stay strong going forward, and sales of MHI’s 501/701s have exceeded expectations.

Japan has surpassed its peak from last year and is investing in MHI machines. Other Asian markets show investment potential for the MHI Model 501/701 series, in particular, as its combustion system has the capability to handle coal gasification, including IGCC as well as other non-standard fuel types.

This technology also has appeal in China where coal and blast furnace gas are abundantly available. Even as China’s economy begins to cool, its hunger for energy is still climbing. So, too, is its capacity to generate power from multiple sources, ranging from coal and nuclear to wind, solar and hydroelectric.

Those trends look similar across Asia, where soaring energy needs are outpacing the expansion of renewable power. More than $250 billion a year is expected to be poured into the construction of energy production resources in Asia, representing twothirds of the region’s total power investment.

The higher the temperature at the turbine inlet, the higher the GTCC’s thermal efficiency. MHI is producing the J-class turbine with a turbine inlet temperature of 1,600°C. Additionally, it is developing a 1,700°C inlet firing temperature turbine as part of a national project to improve energy efficiency. The company’s target is 62% to 65% (LHV) combined cycle efficiency.

The 60-Hz J-series gas turbine achieves a rated power output of about 320 MW (ISO basis) and 460 MW in GTCC applications. Producing electricity in two stages, the Jseries plants achieves higher thermal efficiency with CO2 emission reductions approximately 50% lower than coal-fired production. Additionally, it uses less fuel per MW. NOx emissions, usually increasing with combustion temperature, remain equal to those of current models.

The J-series gas turbines will continue to attract attention from both municipal and industrial clients, especially in Japan, Korea, the Asia Pacific Rim region and Eastern U.S. Construction in the Asian markets helps to minimize logistical challenges such as transportation costs and decreased delivery times.


The Siemens turbine portfolio covers the entire gamut of gas turbine applications for the oil and gas industries. The SGT6-8000H is a large-scale gas turbine designed to support the 50 Hz grid. Siemens also offers the Teleperm T300 DCS, which is soon to be renamed, to align it with the Siemens SPPA line of control systems. A benefit of Siemens turbomachinery is the acheivement of 60% efficiency. With fuel cost as the largest single concern for a power plant, a boost in efficiency can save operators millions.

Siemens offers a Long Term Maintenance Plan (LTMP) with 24-hour access to welltrained operators, as well as a well-stocked parts department and access to the OEM to solve potential problems.


Steven Greene is an analyst for Forecast International’s Industrial & Marine Turbine Forecast. His primary focus is on gas turbine engines used for electrical generation, mechanical load drive duty, and surface transportation — and on large steam turbine machines used in combined cycle installations. For more information on Forecast International, call 203-426-0800 or visit