Get help applying for federal funding through the Just Transition Fund’s Federal Access Center! Learn More.

A national energy transition is sweeping the country—and many communities are feeling the impact as coal mines close and coal-fired power plants are replaced by natural gas and renewable energy sources. In many of these communities, coal-fired plants or mines are the primary drivers of the local economy. Plant and mine closures cause significant economic distress to the surrounding community, including job loss and erosion of the local tax base as tax revenues decline and communities are forced to cut school budgets, health care benefits, and other public sector services.

For local leaders working to identify a path forward, knowing where to start can be paralyzing. But, once they begin charting a plan, they find that while transitioning their community away from coal is challenging, it is far from impossible.

The Just Transition Fund (JTF) has provided direct technical assistance to help communities impacted by the energy transition create plans to guide their transition away from coal while maintaining a robust economy. Through that work, we’ve gathered a wealth of experience, guidance, suggestions, and ideas for how to get started. We know from first-hand experience that early planning is critical for sustainable and meaningful community transition—and we’ve created this resource to help local leaders do just that.

Our Blueprint for Just Transition Learning Path is a comprehensive resource to help coal communities and local leaders create an equitable, sustainable, and inclusive future. It features tips and information for community-based nonprofits and municipal leaders in places where coal plants and mines are scheduled to close—or have already shuttered.

Why You Should Plan

The sooner you engage in the work of community transition, the better off your community will be. Some of the most successful transitions have happened in communities that started openly discussing, planning for, and funding their transition work as soon as the plant or mine closure was announced—even if the closure was years away.

The Four Steps

We’ve outlined four steps to Build Your Plan. Each step builds on the one before. As you move through the steps, remember that planning is an iterative process. You will likely need to make adjustments as you go to best meet the needs and opportunities of your communities.

  1. Take Stock

    Start by taking stock of your community’s capacity for transition planning, the impacts of the closure and challenges that exist, and the assets and opportunities you can build upon as you plan for your community’s future. Click here to read the article.

  2. Engage

    When starting the coal transition planning process, it is important to have all partners and community stakeholders at the table to help outline your goals. An agreement on clear, measurable goals will ensure all players have buy-in and are united as you move forward

  3. Build the Framework for Action

    Determine how your community will measure progress toward your shared goals and generate ideas for getting to your agreed upon vision for the future

  4. Take Action

    The Just Transition Fund is committed to supporting communities as they take concrete action to strengthen and diversify local economies.

More From Blueprint for Transition