Who's tops in wind? The Spanish.

Courtesy: Iberdrola.An annually updated ranking of wind energy companies shows Iberdrola is now Numero Uno.

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Courtesy: Iberdrola.

An annually updated ranking of wind energy companies shows Iberdrola is now Numero Uno. Every year Emerging Energy Research tracks the top wind energy companies based on how much electricity they generate. Spanish-based Iberdrola is now ahead of the previous leader, FPL Energy. Iberdrola's major capacity growth was in Spain and the U.S. Last year they bought out Scottish Power's assets in Ireland, Britain and the U.S. Altogether the wind industry is more mature in Europe than here in America. You can click here for a detailed analysis of the European wind energy market and a look at the move to develope offshore wind generation facilities.

Some European and Anmerican wind generation companies like Iberdrola, Acciona (another Spanish competitor) and FPL are also involved in solar and other alternative energy development.

The Florida-based FPL is the largest American-based wind generation company. Along with IPP [Independent Power Producers], they led North America in new wind build for the third straight year, adding 956 MW of new wind capacity. Further, FPL consolidated its equity position in 108 MW of operating wind capacity in California. Competing for third place globally: Acciona and EDP nearly tied at approximately 2.8 GW apiece before Acciona's stake in Spanish utility Endesa is considered.

The takeover game in wind power may just have timed out. "With viable wind M&A targets dwindling, remaining at the head of the global wind rankings requires adding at least 500 MW of new wind build per year," according to EER Research Director Joshua Magee.

To re-cap: Iberdrola and Acciona are Spanish, EDP is based in Portugal, FPL in Florida. Other high-ranking players inthe wind market: AES, Edison, Invenergy, and utility MidAmerica, according to EER's 2007 rankings.

As in many economic sectors, China's an increasingly important player in wind energy. EER confirms: "Chinese power generation giant DaTang has joined LongYuan in representing the recent explosive Chinese wind market growth in EER's global rankings. 'Chinese state-owned companies are well-positioned in the country's rapidly growing wind power sector due to the importance of government-sponsored wind concession projects,' says Magee. Of the next-tier Chinese power players, HuaDian and GuoHua are the most likely to secure positions in EER's global rankings by year-end 2008."