What is it about?

This research focuses on the challenges of transitioning to renewable energy in rural mining areas, using León, Spain, as a case study. While local transitions have been neglected in the past, there is a growing interest in quantifying the impacts. The findings suggest that a just transition is overdue by three decades, with renewable projects creating fewer jobs than coal mining. Furthermore, there are trade-offs between land use for renewables and ecological integrity. This emphasises the need for holistic approaches to address these challenges in rural areas.

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Why is it important?

This research highlights the often-overlooked challenges of transitioning to renewable energy in rural areas. It emphasises the importance of data-driven decision-making, the limited job creation potential of renewable energy, difficulties in retaining a skilled workforce, environmental trade-offs, and policy implications. These findings are relevant not only for León but for rural regions worldwide, offering insights into achieving a fair and sustainable transition to clean energy.


Transitioning to renewable energy in a place like León, which has long been dependent on fossil fuels and faced significant economic decline, is particularly poignant. This work sheds light on the pressing need for change in regions like these, which have struggled with economic hardships for decades. This research underscores the importance of finding new pathways for these communities. The findings, while challenging, highlight the potential for job creation and economic revitalisation. They also emphasise the urgency of this transition, which should have happened much sooner to mitigate the economic decline these regions have endured. This research serves as a beacon of hope, indicating that despite past setbacks, a transition to renewable energy can provide a lifeline to communities like León. It is a reminder that these regions can adapt and thrive in a more sustainable and environmentally friendly manner, ultimately offering a better future for the people who call them home. This is a call to action for governments and policymakers to prioritise these transitions and offer support to facilitate a just and timely change.

Pablo García-García
Universidad de Leon

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Just transitions to renewables in mining areas: Local system dynamics, Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, January 2024, Elsevier,
DOI: 10.1016/j.rser.2023.113934.
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