Published on February 2, 2021

Saying adiós to coal. Lessons on just transition from Spain

For decades, coal has been one of the main sources of electricity production in Spain. In fact, power generation data from the Spanish transmission system operator (Red Eléctrica de España) shows that until 2018 it was among the three largest sources of electricity production at national level. Although the majority of the coal burnt was imported from Colombia, Russia and South Africa, domestic coal, predominantly sourced from mines located in the north of Spain, in the autonomous communities of Aragón, Asturias and Castilla y León, also played a significant role. Despite the historical weight of the coal sector in Spain, it has experienced a massive decline over the last year and a half. Whilst a large majority of coal mines closed by the end of 2018, more than half of installed coal capacity closed at the end of June 2020, and it is expected that the last coal power plant will shut no later than 2025.