Activists bring coal supply to a standstill at massive Indonesian power plant

Press release - 15 May, 2016
Jakarta, 15 May 2016 – Greenpeace Indonesia activists today climbed the cranes of two grab-type ship unloaders, blocking the supply of coal for the Cirebon Coal Power Plant. The protest in Indonesia, the world’s second biggest exporter of coal, is part of a global wave of ‘Break Free’ actions running from 4-15 May demanding governments keep coal, oil and gas in the ground.

The activists unfurled banners saying ‘Quit Coal’ and ‘Clean Energy, Clean Air’ from both cranes supplying the coal terminal and urged the government to immediately transition towards renewable energy. Communities near the coal power plant have protested its expansion plans since last year.

“Every new coal-fired power plant means elevated health risks for Indonesians. Lives, including those of children, are cut short due to strokes, heart attacks, lung cancer and other cardiovascular and respiratory diseases,” said Arif Fiyanto, Climate and Energy Campaigner at Greenpeace Indonesia.

“Coal has a dirty history in Indonesia ranging from land grabs, violence against local communities, polluting our air and exporting climate change to the rest of the world. The time is now for ordinary Indonesians to show the government and foreign investors in our dirty coal industry that enough is enough.”

Air pollution from coal in Indonesia has had a devastating effect on the country’s health. According  to a study Greenpeace Indonesia released with Harvard University researchers last year, existing coal plants in Indonesia already cause an estimated 7,100 premature deaths per year.

If all proposed new power plants are built, the study found that they could cause the death of a further 21,200 people, due to increased risk of stroke, lung cancer, heart disease and chronic respiratory diseases, as well as deaths of young children due to increased risk of acute respiratory infections.

West Java’s Cirebon Coal Power Plant will be expanded as part of a national 35,000 MW power generation capacity addition project. Under this plan, over 60% of the additional 35,000 MW will come from coal power plants, while only 20% will come from renewables.

The first unit at the Cirebon Coal Power Plant, in operation since July 2012, exploded in September 2014 causing injury to several workers. The expansion plan will be funded by JBIC (Japanese Bank for International Cooperation), the same bank behind another controversial coal power plant at Batang.

“President Jokowi has a choice: stay with a business-as-usual approach to generating electricity and see the lives of thousands of Indonesians cut short, or lead the rapid transition to safe, clean, renewable energy,” Arif added.

“It is unthinkable for the government to expand fossil fuel projects following the Paris agreement. If we are to keep the average global temperature rise to well below two degrees, we must urgently end subsidies for fossil fuel companies and transition to 100% renewables.”

Today’s action follows a protest on 11 May by over 3,500 people in Jakarta, led by people from several communities outside the capital who are resisting coal projects in Indonesia. Greenpeace is joining other NGOs and affected communities in South Africa, the Philippines, USA, Canada, Spain, and other coal affected countries as part of the ‘Break Free’ movement.


Notes to editors:

The report, Human Cost of Coal – Indonesia, released by Greenpeace Southeast Asia and researchers from Harvard University can be found here

Photos and video can be accessed here

Media contacts:

Greenpeace International Press Desk, , phone: +31 (0) 20 718 2470 (available 24 hours)

Arif Fiyanto, Regional Campaign Coordinator Climate and Energy, Greenpeace Southeast Asia, +62811-180-5373,

Hindun Mulaika, Climate and Energy Campaigner for Greenpeace Southeast Asia, +62 8118 407 113,

Rahma Shofiana, Media Campaigner, Greenpeace Southeast Asia, +62 8111 461 674,