Skip to main content

Manufacturing Snapshot: Wind Turbines

CEMAC provides deep analysis to help policymakers and industry gain deeper understanding of the state of and opportunity space in manufacturing of wind turbines and other clean energy technologies. These high-level insights are drawn from Benchmarks of Global Clean Energy Manufacturing.

need alt

The manufacturing supply chain for wind turbines

  • The wind turbine constitutes approximately 75% of initial installed capital costs and approximately 55% of life-cycle costs. Accordingly, the bulk of the economic opportunity from wind energy is accrued by the producers of hardware and equipment for wind power facilities.
  • Transportation costs shape global trade in wind energy components. As many innovations target continued scaling and growth in wind turbine components, innovative solutions to transport and logistics challenges will become increasingly important.
  • Large portions of the wind energy supply chain connect well to core manufacturing industries including steel producers and fabricators, industrial generator and gear producers, and carbon fiber and composite manufactures.
  • U.S. production of current 2 MW and next generation 3 MW wind turbines is notable with capabilities present for blades, towers, generators, and gearboxes. Current U.S. domestic content estimates include 80%–85% for towers, 50%–70% for blades and hubs, and more than 85% for nacelle assembly.
  • At 32.5 billion USD in 2014, value added from wind component production was the highest among the four clean energy manufacturing products included in Benchmarks of Global Clean Energy Manufacturing. The highest levels of value added came from nacelles (18.1 billion USD) and blades (8.7 billion USD).