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Batang coal fired power plant, Central Java, Indonesia

Batang district, on the northeastern coast of Java, might soon be home to what has been billed as Southeast Asia’s largest ever coal-fired power plant, despite many protests.


 The 2,000-megawatt Batang coal-fired power plant has been billed as the largest project of its kind in Southeast Asia, and is part of a larger plan to add 35,000 megawatts of power to Indonesia's grid. Batang villagers who oppose the plant allege they have faced human rights abuses.  As preliminary construction begins in 2017, local fishers claim their catch has been reduced. However, as a model project for public-private partnerships in Indonesia, the Batang plant enjoys robust government support. The 2,000-megawatt (MW) plant is now expected to be “fully operational” in 2020. [1] The announcement followed  delays due to four years of community protest and opposition to the project’s development. For instance, in May 2016 about 3,500 people staged a protest in the capital . Organized by environmental groups, the protest began in front of the Japanese Embassy, where the participants demanded that Japan drop the 2,000-megawatt project, before marching to the presidential palace. The coal-fired power plant, meant to supply electricity to 13 million people in Central Java, has been promoted by PT Bhimasena Power Indonesia, a consortium of Japan's Electric Power Development Co.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Batang coal fired power plant, Central Java, Indonesia
State or province:Central Java
Location of conflict:Batang Regency
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Fossil Fuels and Climate Justice/Energy
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Wetlands and coastal zone management
Thermal power plants
Land acquisition conflicts
Specific commodities:Coal
Project Details and Actors
Project details

2,000-megawatt (MW) plant, which is now expected to be “fully operational” in 2020. The announcement followed multiple delays due to four years of community protest and opposition to the project’s development. The project developer is Bhimasena Power Indonesia (BPI). BPI is a private joint venture between two Japanese firms — utility and power plant operator J-Power and the Itochu Corporation — and Adaro Power, a subsidiary of Adaro Energy, one of Indonesia’s largest coal companies. The $4 billion project is being funded by the government-owned Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) along with several other Asian banks.[1].

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Project area:226
Level of Investment for the conflictive project4,000,000,000
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:10,000
Start of the conflict:2011
Company names or state enterprises:PT Bhimasena Power Indonesia (BPI) from Indonesia
J-Power from Japan
Itochu Corporation from Japan
Adaro Power from Indonesia
International and Finance InstitutionsJapan Bank for International Corporation (JBIC) from Japan
Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation (OCBC) from Singapore
The World Bank (WB) from United States of America
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Greenpeace Indonesia
Lembaga Bantuan Hukum (LBH) Semarang, a legal aid organization
Friends of the Earth Japan
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityHIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
International ejos
Local ejos
Fisher people
Forms of mobilization:Artistic and creative actions (eg guerilla theatre, murals)
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Land occupation
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Official complaint letters and petitions
Street protest/marches
Refusal of compensation
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Other Environmental impacts
Potential: Food insecurity (crop damage), Global warming, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Air pollution, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality
Other Environmental impactsThe Batang project overlaps with the Ujungnegoro-Roban marine conservation area, jeopardizing the richness of local fishing waters as well as fishermen's livelihoods.
Health ImpactsPotential: Other Health impacts
Other Health impactsAlleged mercury contamination
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Militarization and increased police presence, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Potential: Violations of human rights
Other socio-economic impactsLoss of fisheries
Project StatusUnder construction
Conflict outcome / response:Repression
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:Despite the protests, the project goes ahead. "Local residents endured harassment and arrests as the project’s proponents attempted to quash dissent. However, by refusing to sell their land, they have delayed the project by three years and sent a clear signal to the world that local communities must have a voice in decisions about their land, water, economy, and heritage" [4].
Sources & Materials

[1] As construction begins on Java’s Batang coal plant, a divided community faces environmental problems. 24 January 2017. Mongabay.
[click to view]

[2] Indonesia's Controversial Batang Power Plant: Human Rights & Environment, 7 June 2016
[click to view]

[3] Thousands rally in Jakarta against Java power plant project. Wednesday, 11 May 2016 . May 11, Kyodo
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Indonesia’s largest coal plant will be built despite protests, minister says. 26 May 2013. Mongabay
[click to view]

Central Java Power Project (Jawa Tengah), also known as PLTU Batang or Batang power station, is a proposed 1,900-megawatt (MW) coal-fired power station by PT Bhimasena Power Indonesia (BPI) in Pemalang, Batang, in Central Java, Indonesia.
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

[4]Sierra Club. May 6, 2015. Are Japan And The World Bank Supporting A Coal Plant With Human Rights Violations In Indonesia?

By Nicole Ghio
[click to view]

Greenpeace Indonesia. Aksi Protest Nelayan Terhadap Pembangunan PLTU Batang. 5 Juni 2016
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THE FENCE. Greenpeace Indonesia
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Petition against Japan's financing of the Batang CFPP
[click to view]

Greenpeace video. Perjuangan Masyarakat Batang melawan Perusakan Lingkungan oleh PLTU. 2013.
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:SM, JL and JMA (ICTA-UAB)
Last update18/08/2019
Conflict ID:2995
Legal notice / Aviso legal
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