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What is "Just Transition"?

Coal Transition in Spain

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.


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.