By John Acher
COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - The world's top wind turbine maker Vestas shed market share in 2011 in a global sector forecast to grow much more weakly in the next five years.
Vestas's Chinese rivals again grabbed four spots among the world's top 10 players, according to Danish consultancy BTM Consult which blamed government austerity measures for the cut in its industry growth rate outlook by one third compared with 2011.
BTM also said Europe lost out to Asia as the largest wind power continent last year.
It said Europe had 24.5 percent of all new installations, its lowest level and down from 51 percent five years ago, while Asia accounted for 52.1 percent.
China was by far the biggest single wind turbine market with 17.63 gigawatt (GW) of installations in 2011, BTM said.
"The most significant change in the supply market was the strong growth of Chinese wind turbine suppliers," BTM said in a summary of its annual world market update.
Vestas remained world number one though its market share dropped by 1.4 percentage points to 12.9 percent in 2011.
China's Goldwind climbed to number two spot from number four while Sinovel, second-placed last year, fell to seventh.
U.S. conglomerate GE kept its No. 3 rank, Spain's Gamesa rose to fourth spot from eighth, Germany's Enercon stayed fifth and Germany's Siemens held on to ninth.
Total installed capacity grew by 41.71 GW to around 241.0 GW, an increase in cumulative installations of 21 percent. Annual growth in installations was 6 percent, BTM said.
"Annual installed capacity has grown by an annual average of 23 percent over the past five years," it said.
The Americas rebounded in 2011, with growth of 44 percent compared with a decline of 42 percent in 2010, as North American demand recovered from the slump caused by the financial crisis.
GROWTH OUTLOOK DOWN
BTM Consult forecast 10 percent annual growth in the global wind turbines market over the next five years, compared with a forecast of 15.5 percent growth made a year ago.
"It is the first time that the annual growth rate has been revised downwards by more than 5 percentage points, thus revising (the World Market Update's) five-year forecast," BTM said. "This year, growth of 3.5 percent over 2011 is expected."
BTM said the sovereign debt crisis in the euro zone "led to panic across a number of crisis-stricken developed markets forced to deploy drastic austerity measures" including a reduction in renewable energy incentives.
At the end of the five-year forecast period, the annual rate of new capacity is expected to surpass 68.11 GW per year, and the cumulative level of installations over the period is expected to be 269.85 GW, 14 percent lower than last year's forecast, it said.
BTM Consult gave the following ranking of wind turbine manufactures and their shares of the total 2011 market:
2011 Market 2010 Market
Company Country share (pct) share (pct)
1) Vestas Denmark 12.9 14.8
2) Goldwind China 9.4 9.5
3) GE United States 8.8 9.6
4) Gamesa Spain 8.2 6.6
5) Enercon Germany 7.9 7.2
6) Suzlon India 7.7 6.9
7) Sinovel China 7.3 11.1
8) United Power China 7.1 4.2
9) Siemens Germany 6.3 5.9 10) Mingyang China 2.9 N/A
Others 21.5 20.9
(Editing by David Cowell)