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Vestas loses top spot in world wind power market

Vestas, the Danish company that maintains its North American headquarters in Portland, lost its world lead in wind power manufacturing in 2012 to American rival GE-Wind, according to a new industry report by Navigant Research.

Vestas supplied 14 percent of the world market last year for turbines and other parts, topped by GE-Wind, which bolted to a 15.5 percent market share. Vestas had been the world market-share leader since 2000, Navigant reported.

GE Wind benefited from the year-end rush to take advantage of production tax credits in the U.S., which were set to expire. Congress wound up extending the wind tax break for another year, but uncertainty prompted wind developers to speed construction of new projects last year.

The feared expiration of the tax break brought a banner year to Oregon’s wind power industry in 2012, for new installations. While layoffs mounted at Vestas and Iberdrola, a wind power operator that also maintains its North American headquarters in Portland, new wind developments bloomed.

Oregon became the nation’s fourth-leading state for wind power deployment by year’s end, in part because of completion of the Shepherd Flats project, the nation’s second-largest wind farm.

The United States recaptured its place as the world’s largest market for new wind power installations in 2012, topping China. Last year, there were 13,124 megawatts of new wind power installed in the U.S. That brought an 18.6 percent increase in the supply of wind power worldwide.

Navigant forecasts that total wind power development will fall 10 prcent this year compared to 2012.

The research group calculates that wind power will account for 2.6 percent of the world’s electricity this year, but will grow to 4.9 percent in four years.

For more information: www.navigantresearch.com/research/world-market-update-2012.