This case study presents a detailed analysis of a gradual coal transition in the Czech Republic from 1990 to 2015. The political and social changes in 1989 led to an extensive economic transformation. The recession in heavy industry and its associated decrease in energy supply, along with environmental pressures, led the government to oversee a decline in coal production.
The study examines the Czech economy and key energy reforms between 1990 and 2015. The national government’s plan sought to restructure the electricity sector, moving away from coal in favor of renewables. The environmental reforms of 1991, which placed limits on six coal mining fields, sought to protect the environment and villages from further expansions of coal mines and, in effect, reduced national coal production.
In addition to discussing the negative impacts of coal mine privatization, the authors analyze the implications of the national government reforms and discuss various policy responses that aimed to mitigate the ecological and social impacts of the transition. Many of these efforts related to the rehabilitation and remediation of environmentally damaged lands. The authors suggest that the delay in regional support measures resulted in the social isolation of affected areas, characterized by low employment rates, standards of living, and economic performance.