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Coal fired power plant near conservation areas in Pacitan, East Java, Indonesia

Complaints about decline of fisheries, coal dust and killing of turtles around the 630 MW Chinese financed power plant in Pacitan.


The 630-megawatt Pacitan coal-fired power plant began construction in 2007 and started working in 2013. There are many complaints about coal dust and air contamination [3]. Local fishermen say their catch has fallen dramatically since the project was launched, forcing them to fish much further offshore. People whose livelihoods have suffered say they have not received sufficient compensation, and that the plant offers little in terms of alternative employment for locals. Misnadi,   head of the Sumberejo Fishermen’s Group, said: “We fishermen demanded 6 million rupiah ($451) per year in compensation,” explaining that they planned to divide the compensation among three groups of forty fishermen each [2]. The power plant has changed the map for the fishermen, compromising their livelihood. As fishermen grew frustrated, their positioning towards the power plant became increasingly tense. In hopes of avoiding conflict, the subdistrict leadership forum contacted Misnadi. “I told them we are trying to earn a living, so even if we’re being shot at, we’ll do it anyway,” he said. “In the end we came up with a shift system. When the project people are working, we don’t go fishing. When they stop working, we go fishing.” Despite that agreement, fishermen are reluctant to fish in the area. “The power plant has limited our activities,” Misnadi said. “We can’t cast our nets, there are ships going everywhere, it’s not pleasant. … In the end, the fishermen avoid the area.” For Misnadi, the Kondang Bay is his main source of livelihood. To earn as much as he did before the plant was built, Misnadi now has to sail further into the bay, often traveling up to 25 miles  offshore in search of fish and shrimp. But finding a new place to fish is not a simple matter of steering his boat to more fruitful waters. Misnadi also has to navigate the unwritten rules of the local fishing communities, which dictate that fishermen from one area are not at liberty to fish in waters traditionally harvested by other communities. [ 2]. Moreover, there is damage to turtles.   Fuel for the Pacitan coal-fired power plant is brought by sea-going barges, which pass through turtle breeding areas. Conservation areas near the power plant provide nesting sites for green, hawksbill and olive ridley sea turtles. Local conservationists say the presence of coal barges — and several spills — reduces the number of hatchlings. Villagers say the river near the power plant is now empty of the fish and shrimp that once formed a regular part of the local diet. [1]

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Basic Data
Name of conflict: Coal fired power plant near conservation areas in Pacitan, East Java, Indonesia
State or province:East Java Province
Location of conflict:Sudimoro District, Pacitan Regency
Accuracy of locationMEDIUM (Regional level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Fossil Fuels and Climate Justice/Energy
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Mineral processing
Coal extraction and processing
Specific commodities:Coal
Project Details and Actors
Project details

Pacitan Power Plant a 630-megawatt

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Level of Investment:293,000,000
Type of populationSemi-urban
Start of the conflict:2007
Company names or state enterprises:Perusahaan Listrik Negara (PT PLN Persero) from Indonesia
International and Finance InstitutionsExport-Import Bank of China from China
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Sumberejo Fishermen’s Group.
Conflict & Mobilization
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Local ejos
Fisher people
Forms of mobilization:Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Other Environmental impacts, Air pollution, Waste overflow
Potential: Food insecurity (crop damage)
Other Environmental impactsDamage to turtles
Health ImpactsVisible: Other Health impacts
Potential: Malnutrition, Accidents
Other Health impactsCoal dust
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Loss of landscape/sense of place, Displacement, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures
Other socio-economic impactsDamage to fisheries.
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Compensation
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:The coal fired power plant is in operation.
Sources & Materials
Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

[1] Efforts to conserve sea turtles disrupted by coal plant in East Java. 31 January 2017.
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Global Energy Observatory
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PLN to secure $761m in loans from Chinese banks in June
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[2] Pacitan villagers say coal plant reduced livelihoods, brought little new employment
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[3]In response to pollution complaints, a coal plant in Indonesia offered soap and mops. by Nuswantoro on 1 February 2017 |
[click to view]

Other documents

Environmental activist Papang Wida Kristianto overlooks the Pacitan coal-fired power plant. Source: Nuswantoro (
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Misnadi (left), one of the fishermen affected by the coal plant is the former leader of the Sumberejo Fishermen’s Group. Photo by Nuswantoro (
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:SM y JMA (ICTA-UAB)
Last update20/10/2017
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