As Wind Power Employment Grows 40% in One Year, 3 Companies Dominate Industry

Thursday, August 13, 2015
(photo: Matt Young, AP)

The wind power industry added considerably more jobs last year, according to a federal report, with the business growing for the three companies that dominate the business.

 

A U.S. Department of Energy report (pdf) says employment in the wind sector went up from 50,500 in 2013 to 73,000 in 2014, an increase of more than 40%. That’s great news if you’re General Electric, Siemens, or Vestas, the three companies dominating the industry. Those three companies controlled 98% of the U.S. market last year.

 

GE led the way with 60% of the market, followed by Siemens (26%) and Vestas (12%). Vestas leads the international market, followed by Siemens, GE, and Goldwind. There are several Chinese companies among the market leaders, but they primarily sell their products in their home country.

 

The good times for wind may not last much longer, however. A federal subsidy for wind investment is scheduled to expire in 2017, and that may curb growth in this sector. The report says “prospects for further expansion have dimmed. Far more domestic manufacturing facilities closed in 2014 than opened. With an uncertain domestic market after 2016, some manufacturers have been hesitant to commit additional long-term resources to the U.S. market.”

 

The United States is ripe for more wind investment. Only 4.9% of electricity in the U.S. is generated via wind power. For comparison, Denmark gets 40% of its electricity from the wind and Spain and Ireland each get about 20%.

-Noel Brinkerhoff

 

To Learn More:

2014 Wind Technologies Market Report (Department of Energy) (pdf)

10 Things You Should Know About Wind Power in the U.S. (by Katie Fehrenbacher, Fortune)

Would Atlantic Wind Energy Create more Jobs than Offshore Oil Drilling? (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)

Largest Area of Federal Waters in U.S. to be auctioned for Offshore Wind Power Projects (by Steve Straehley, AllGov)

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