This case study discusses the main features of the transition away from coal in Spain, including the driving forces, policy responses, and potentially negative socioeconomic effects.
Economic diversification/restructuring > Economic development plans, Industry and/or sector assistance or plans, Infrastructure investment
Employment > Job creation and/or equality, Skills, Social protections
Environment and/or pollution > Nature
Government intervention > Public finance, Regulation
Investment > Competitiveness
national coal plans
Pablo del Río
Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations (IDDRI), Climate Strategies
Academic/research institution or journal
This case study analyzes the policy-driven coal transition that occurred in Spain over the last two decades. The study describes the key role of coal in the Spanish economy and discusses the motives behind the coal transition, its impacts, and the policy measures that were introduced to mitigate such impacts.
Generally, market competition from cheap imported coal has triggered a downturn in Spanish coal production since 1993 and a decrease in employment in the coal sector. This report details how a plan signed by labor unions and the government in July 1997 to protect the future of coal miners, as well as a subsequent 2006–12 coal plan and EU legislation, have all provided a roadmap for Spain’s coal transition.
The report describes the positive and the negative effects of these policies, identifying lessons learned. It calls for greater collaboration among stakeholders to better understand the priorities and for the establishment of social funds to ensure better transition assistance and worker compensation.
Academic paper/Guidelines, Strategies and Recommendations
This academic paper seeks to understand citizens’ perceptions of the energy transition in communities in France, Ireland, Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom and how to integrate these perspectives into the decision-making process.
France, Ireland, Italy, Spain, United Kingdom
Economic diversification/restructuring > Economic development plans
This academic paper investigates citizens’ perceptions of the energy transition and the kinds of roles they see themselves playing in its implementation. Through a series of cross-sectional community engagements and other research tools, the authors seek to describe how local communities can become empowered to drive project development and engage meaningfully in the low-carbon energy transition.
The authors examined six communities in five European countries. Participants felt that, as citizens, they had limited agency to participate in energy system reforms and that, as energy consumers, they were locked into a restricted set of false choices that do not grant them meaningful power.
The authors call for energy governance structures and organizational formats that are participatory, inclusive, and mindful of the lived experiences of local people. They offer a “characterization tool” to help communities assess the potential for energy democracy and citizen participation within six different types of participatory business models. They also offer recommendations for how these models can incorporate citizens’ perspectives into planning and implementation, using examples to illustrate how considering a broader range of stakeholder perspectives can promote more equitable energy configurations.