Opposition to coal in Indonesia

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Sumatra (Riau): Tanjung Kasam power station

It was reported by the Jakarta Post in February 2013 that, "Around 300 residents of Batam, Riau Islands, have rallied to shut down the Tanjung Kasam steam-powered electricity plant (PLTU) until state-owned electricity company PT PLN stops it from pouring ash onto their homes. The residents of Telaga Punggur subdistrict in Nongsa have complained of respiratory and skin ailments due to ash from the plant since the Tanjung Kasam PLTU started operations at the end of 2012." The residents were halted by local police as they approached plant managers on January 2, 2013 to demand the plant be shut down.[1]

Java (Batang): Jawa Tengah power station (Central Java Power Project)

Around 7,000 residents of the five villages affected by the project are strongly opposed to its construction. In addition, a range of environmental and human rights groups have protested the project.[2]

Protest at Japanese embassy (July 22, 2013)

"Reject Batang Power Plant," July 22, 2013 protest at Japanese embassy in Jakarta. Photo courtesy of GreenpeaceIndonesia

On July 22, 2013, about 150 people protested against the project in front of the Japanese Embassy in Jakarta. The protesters were members of Paguyuban Rakyat Batang Berjuang Untuk Konservasi, supported by Yayasan Lembaga Bantuan Hukum Indonesia (YLBHI), or Indonesia Legal Aid Foundation (YLBHI). According to protesters, the project would heavily impact the livelihoods of thousands of fishermen due to its effects on coral reefs and other environmentally sensitive areas. In addition, the 200-500 acres used by the project would destroy irrigated rice fields and tens of thousands of trees. Among the protesters was M. Ali Tafrihan of Roban village, who reported being jailed for six months as a result of his opposition to the project.[3]

Human Rights Violations

According to Lembaga Bantuan Hukum (LBH) Semarang, a legal aid organization that has been working with residents at the project site, thugs as well as police and members of the military have used intimidation tactics against those who have refused to sell their land.[4]


In July 2013 Bloomberg reported that the plant was delayed due to difficulties acquiring land, environmental assessments, and local opposition. As a result of the problems, the onset of construction was reportedly postposed by two years, from October 2012 to October 2014.[5]

Local landowners could derail project

Protest against Central Java Power Project, (undated) Photo courtesy of GreenpeaceIndonesia
Residents speak out against Central Java Project, November 25, 2013. Courtesy of GreenpeaceIndonesia.

According to a July 2013 story in the Japan Times, around 50 landowners at the project site were refusing to sell 40 hectares, an amount of land amounting to 20 percent of the land needed to build the project. If the land purchase was not completed by October 6, the sponsors of the project would lose the right to build the project and a new round of bidding would need to be conducted. According to an unnamed Indonesian official, completing the acquisition by the October deadline would be virtually impossible.[6] According to a report in the environmental blog Mongabay, opponents of the plant were disputing government claims regarding the amount of land that had been secured. Roidhi, a resident of Karanggenang, one of the villages affected by the project, told Mongabay that "70 percent of our land still belongs to us." "When you look at the data mentioned by Hatta Rajasa...and Lucy Eko Wuryanto it is very clear that the data mentioned is a mere claim. Each person is reporting different data," said Wahyu Nandang Herawan, a staff member of Lembaga Bantuan Hukum (LBH) Semarang, a legal aid organization that has been working with the community. [4]

Articles and resources


  1. "Residents protest ash from Batam power plant" The Jakarta Post, February 6, 2014.
  2. Kate Sheppard, "World Bank Aids New Coal Project Abroad, Defying Policy, Environmental Group Says," Huffington Post, September 25, 2013
  3. Siaran Pers, "Stop Investasi Jahat Jepang di PLTU Batang," Greenpeace Indonesia press release, July 22, 2013
  4. 4.0 4.1 Diana Parker, "Indonesia's largest coal plant will be built despite protests, minister says," Mongabay.com, May 26, 2013
  5. According to a spokesman for J-POWER, 80 percent of land needed for the project had been acquired.ref name=Bloomberg>Emi Urabe, Tsuyoshi Inajima and Fitri Wulandari, "J-Power, Partners Delay $4 Billion Indonesia Coal Power Plant," Bloomberg News, October 3, 2013
  6. "Locals stall $4 billion Indonesia power plant," Japan Times, July 20, 2013

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