Asia-Pacific to lead growth in wind turbine gearbox and direct drive markets

Asia-Pacific is set to lead growth in the global wind turbine gearbox and direct drive equipment sectors in the next three years, with the market for gearboxes in APAC forecast to hit $1.58bn in 2022.

That’s the findings of a new report from analysts at research firm GlobalData, who predict that installations of wind gearboxes and direct drive equipment are estimated to aggregate to 209.6 GW and 81.3 GW respectively between now and 2022, accounting for a global market share of 46 per cent and 53.5 per cent.

The report reveals that the global trends of windpower are creating business opportunities for both new and refurbishment markets. It states that the total installation of wind gearboxes stood at 37.8 GW in 2017 as compared to 14.4 GW for direct drive, and will continue leading the market until 2022.

However, it adds that due to their improved mechanical design, superior operation and maintenance aspects, direct drives are likely to experience a higher growth rate over the coming years.

GlobalData power analyst Nirushan Rajasekaram explained why within APAC, major countries such as China, India, Australia and South Korea “are likely to boost the growth of the drive-train markets”.

He said China accounted for 27.3 per cent of the global gearbox market value in 2017 and the country is committed to developing its renewables portfolio to sustain development activities and growing electricity demand from the transport sector industries and rural regions to improve standards of living, while reducing power sector emissions.

However, the market is projected to decline till 2022, due to change in awarding wind projects from a feed-in tariff model to auctioning model.

Rajasekaram added: “The historical installations of wind turbines in China will see the gearbox refurbishment market value grow significantly over the forecast period. India is estimated to be the fastest growing market for gearbox, growing at a CAGR of 15.9 per cent over the forecast period. Similar to China, the government proposed ambitious renewable energy targets, which are expected to drive the wind equipment market. It is likely that direct drives will also see higher rates of deployment in India, during the forecast period.”

However, he said that despite strong projections for wind gearbox and direct drive markets, certain market uncertainties exist. Major countries such as China, the US and Germany are experiencing slowdown in wind turbine installations, which would directly impact the drive-train market, although opportunities for refurbishment are plenty, owing to their legacy wind turbine installations.

 

Rajasekaram explained: “Evolving power and smart technologies could result in wind power becoming uncompetitive and thereby impact its growth in the future. Emerging markets will require the construction of sufficient grid infrastructure to support new generation capacity addition, which could slow market deployment of wind power.”    

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