This one-year project (from April 2021) is being funded under the COP26 Trilateral Research initiative, which is supporting four research collaborations between universities in the UK, Japan, and ASEAN countries to address various aspects of climate change. This research partnership is using mathematical modelling to create an open-source software framework to aid policymakers in ASEAN countries with energy planning in order to transition away from carbon emissions in line with their commitments.

Key insights

  • To achieve the ambitious emissions targets made under the Paris Agreement and keep global warming to below 2 °C, strategic planning methods for policymaking are essential. 
  • The mathematical model is based on mixed-integer linear programming, which allows for long-term planning. Users can input e.g. energy forecasts or price forecasts, specify demand, maximum emissions, or budgets (changing over time), select preferred technologies, and swap energy sources for existing plants to see the effect on CO2 emissions.
  • The prototype is already working (halfway through the project), and has validated some decisions about switching particular coal-fired plants to biomass which had already been made by the Malaysian government. It has also demonstrated that Negative Emissions Technologies, which remove CO2 from the air, are required in order to meet targets.

Contributing to climate action

As developing economies, ASEAN countries have rapidly rising CO2 emissions, and are currently investing in new power generation to meet growing demand, so an energy planning tool which reflects regional conditions has an important contribution to make. The preliminary case study, of energy generation by power plants in peninsular Malaysia 2020 – 2050, has been conducted in discussion with the Malaysian government to reflect their actual policies and priorities, so it is already influencing policy. Further workshops with potential users from industry and government across the region are planned to generate more partner engagement.

Reinforcing COP26 priorities

Energy planning is essential for CO2 emissions reduction on a national scale. This research provides an important tool to help policymakers meet the targets pledged under the Paris Agreement.

Who’s involved?

University of Surrey (UK), University of Tokyo (Japan), University of Nottingham Malaysia (Malaysia), with De La Salle University (Philippines) and Monash University (Malaysia) as associate partners.

Why the British Council?

The British Council has longstanding relationships with the higher education sector and policymakers in each of the participating countries, enabling us to run a research call and support the grant recipients in disseminating their findings.


See also

External links