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.


Description

 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
NameBatang coal fired power plant, Central Java, Indonesia
CountryIndonesia
ProvinceCentral Java
SiteBatang 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)Land acquisition conflicts
Thermal power plants
Wetlands and coastal zone management
Specific CommoditiesElectricity
Land
Coal
Project Details and Actors
Project Details2,000-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].

Up against these powerful entities, the farmers and fisherman of Batang asked for assistance from environmental NGOs Greenpeace Indonesia and Friends of the Earth Japan. Local security, the police and the army intimidate citizens who object to the development, Wicaksono (Greenpeace coordinator) told Mongabay. [1]. “People opposing are also arrested and jailed. One community leader was jailed for eight months. It makes people very scared. Even when they try to inform the police, if it is from someone opposing, the police do not care,” said Wicaksono. Originally the project was estimated to cost US$3.2 billion. In October 2013, Boy Garibaldi Thohir, president director of Adaro Energy, said that the cost of the project had risen significantly. Boy declined to state an exact figure but said that the total was not more than $5 billion.
Project Area (in hectares)226
Level of Investment (in USD)4,000,000,000
Type of PopulationRural
Potential Affected Population10,000
Start Date2011
Company Names or State EnterprisesPT Bhimasena Power Indonesia (BPI) from Indonesia
J-Power from Japan
Itochu Corporation from Japan
Adaro Power from Indonesia
International and Financial InstitutionsJapan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) from Japan
Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation from China
The World Bank (WB) from United States of America
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersGreenpeace Indonesia

Lembaga Bantuan Hukum (LBH) Semarang, a legal aid organization

Friends of the Earth Japan
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)HIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
When did the mobilization beginPREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups MobilizingFarmers
International ejos
Local ejos
Fisher people
Forms of MobilizationArtistic 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
Impacts
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
OtherThe 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
OtherAlleged mercury contamination
Socio-economic 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
OtherLoss of fisheries
Outcome
Project StatusUnder construction
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseRepression
Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.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 and Materials
Links

Indonesia’s largest coal plant will be built despite protests, minister says. 26 May 2013. Mongabay
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[2] Indonesia's Controversial Batang Power Plant: Human Rights & Environment, 7 June 2016
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[1] As construction begins on Java’s Batang coal plant, a divided community faces environmental problems. 24 January 2017. Mongabay.
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[3] Thousands rally in Jakarta against Java power plant project. Wednesday, 11 May 2016 . May 11, Kyodo
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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.
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Media Links

THE FENCE. Greenpeace Indonesia
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Petition against Japan's financing of the Batang CFPP
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Greenpeace video. Perjuangan Masyarakat Batang melawan Perusakan Lingkungan oleh PLTU. 2013.
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Greenpeace Indonesia. Aksi Protest Nelayan Terhadap Pembangunan PLTU Batang. 5 Juni 2016
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[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
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Other Documents

Source: Greenpeace Greenpeace activists, together with farmers and fishermen from Batang and the Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation (YLBHI) unfurl a banner reading “Food Not Coal!” in the middle of Ponowareng village rice fields to show their opposition to the proposed coal-fired power plant in Batang, Central Java
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At Japan's embassy in Jakarta. "Coal kills us"
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Source: Yudhi Mahatma/Greenpeace Fishers and farmers wave signs to show their opposition to the Batang coal-fired power plant
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Xinhua/Veri Sanovri March 30, 2017. Environmentalist organizations and fishing community protested here on Thursday against the coal-fired power plant project constructed in Batang, Central Java province, which would produce 10.8 million tons of carbon emission each year, worsen the impacts of climate change and to damage the environment around the project areas and harm the health of people
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Meta Information
ContributorSM, JL and JMA (ICTA-UAB)
Last update21/09/2017
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