February 10, 2017 / 10:15 AM / 6 months ago

Vestas leaps to top spot in U.S. wind market

COPENHAGEN, Feb 10 (Reuters) - Danish wind turbine maker Vestas Wind Systems has leapt to the top spot in the U.S. wind market, overtaking General Electric, data from a wind industry trade group shows.

Vestas, the world's biggest wind turbine maker, supplied 43 percent of the 8.2 GW of wind power capacity connected to the U.S. power grid last year, the American Wind Energy Association said in a quarterly report released on Friday. That was up from 33 percent in 2015 and just 12 percent in 2014.

In comparison General Electric's market share fell to 42 percent in 2016 from well over half in 2014, the association said, although GE remains the market leader in terms of overall installed capacity in the United States.

"It is definitely our ambition to at least keep our market share," Vestas Chief Executive Anders Runevad told Reuters.

Vestas reported record global revenues for 2016 on Wednesday but warned it would see lower orders in the United States this year and said rapid growth in demand in the industry generally could be coming to an end as the wind market matures.

The Danish company is set to lose its status as the world's top wind turbine maker as Germany's Siemens and Spain's Gamesa have agreed to combine their assets in the sector.

Wind energy has surpassed hydropower as the biggest source of renewable electricity in the United States, according to the association, helped by tax credits under Barack Obama's administration. There is uncertainty about government support under President Donald Trump's administration although tax credits already awarded seem safe.

"How (the U.S. market) will pan out over the years is still very hard to predict," Runevad said. (Reporting by Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen; Editing by Susan Fenton)

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