Comparing China India and Mexico

While China, India, and Mexico are all developing countries, there are stark differences in their socio-economic characteristics, and the institutional and technological aspects of their power sectors. In this section, we highlight some of the key differences and discuss the implications for technology development and options for GHG mitigation. Mexico's population is less than one-tenth of the population of both China and India, and these two countries have more than one billion people each, accounting for nearly 40% of global population [4]. Despite its high population, however, China has done relatively well in terms of its economy, and its per capita electricity consumption is slightly higher than Mexico (Table 11.2). Per

Fig. 11.13 Share of installed capacity, power generation, and emissions from independent power producers (IPPs) in Mexico (Source: Vijay et al. [42])




^m m



2002 2007

Fig. 11.14 Changes in emission intensity from Mexican power sector (2002-2007) (Source: Vijay et al. [42])


capita income (purchasing power parity adjusted) in Mexico is the highest at about USD 10,000, whereas for China, it is about two-third of that of Mexico (~USD 6,624) and India's per capita GDP is the lowest, at about a one-third of that for Mexico [4]. China has a large industrial manufacturing capacity that has driven its

Table 11.2 Key energy statistics of China, India, and Mexico Source: IEA [4, 6]

Population (million)

GDP (PPPa 2000$)

Total primary energy supply (MTOE)

Par capita electricity consumption (kWh/year)

emissions (Mtonnes)b

Electrification rate






















"Purchasing power parity bFossil fuel combustion only

"Purchasing power parity bFossil fuel combustion only export-based economy, and Mexico benefitted from its participation in North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) which resulted in setting up of manufacturing base across the US border. Indian economy, on the other hand is dominated by the service sector. Contribution of the agricultural production to the total GDP is relatively small, but it still remains the largest provider of employment to the rural population. Manufacturing sector in India contributes about one-fifth to the total GDP. Its service sector, driven by the information technology industry, has seen a significant growth in the recent years. In terms of energy, per capita electricity consumption in China is highest at slightly above 2,000 kWh; Mexico is only slightly lower than China; and Indian per capita electricity consumption is about one-fourth of those of China and Mexico. Electrification rate is highest in China at 99%, closely followed by Mexico at 95%. India also lags behind in this important indicator with only 62% of its population with access to electricity [4].

With over 120 billion tonnes of proven coal reserves [4], China is endowed with the most coal resources among the three countries. However, China's coal production is less than its demand, making it a net importer of coal. Similarly, India imports steam-coal and coking coal, despite having relatively large coal resources [20]. Moreover, the quality of coal in India is very poor - with high ash content, which can sometimes be as high as 50%. Mexico also has some coal reserves, but its main energy resource lies in oil and natural gas: it has 12.4 billion barrels of oil, and 14.6 trillion cubic feet of proven natural gas reserves. Mexico imports steam coal for one of its coal-fired power plants, and primarily relies on residual fuel oil from its refineries. Natural gas production has not been able to keep up with demand (driven by industrial and power generation sector), and hence Mexico is now a net importer of natural gas.

The power sector in these countries (as is true in most other countries) is driven largely by the availability of domestic resources. Chinese and Indian power sectors are primarily fueled by coal, whereas Mexican power sector is dominated by residual fuel oil from its refinery capacity and, since 2000, natural gas based combined cycle generation capacity. In the near to mid-term, it is unlikely that there will be major changes in the fuel-mix of the generation portfolio of the three countries. Despite their efforts to add more nuclear and renewable capacity, China and India are likely to continue to rely on coal as primary resource for power generation.

Mexico, on the other hand is likely to adopt a more diversified approach: while relying mostly on natural gas combined-cycle (NGCC) plants, Mexico will add more renewables and some oil and coal-fired capacity to its generation portfolio. The overall efficiency of Mexican power sector will also improve, as the NGCC plants are much more efficient than conventional oil-fired steam cycle power plants. Mexico's key challenge in the future will be to increase the operating efficiency of its NGCC plants from high 40% to high 50%. The Chinese power sector has already gained significant experience and expertise in developing and deploying the more efficient coal based USC power plants and the key technological challenge for China is likely to quickly use the experience gained in installing and operating the USC plants to accelerate its fleet turnover to make itself more energy efficient. The relatively high sulfur content in the Chinese coal would require the installation of FGDs on majority of its new capacity. The technologies in the Indian power sector lags significantly behind China and the main challenge for India is to learn from the experience of China, Japan and other countries to adapt and deploy SC and USC power plants and to accelerate its fleet turnover.

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