Research Discussion with Communities Impacted by Coal Power Plants

In August-October 2018, AEER working with its network organisations did a research on the negative impacts of coal power plant on social, economy, environment. AEER with its networks had discussion with communities around Ombilin-West Sumatera coal power plants, Kendari 3 South East Sulawesi, Sebalang and Embalut.

As common in almost all coal power plants in Indonesia, communites complained about air pollution, lower farming and fishery productivities, and health. And also coal power impacts on their property, like coal dust fly into their homes.

Discussion with villagers near Sebalang coal power plant.


Discussion with community nearby   Kendari 3 coal power plant

With community nearby Pangkalan Susu coal power plant.

With community around Punagaya coal power plant.

The result of these discussion with come out as fact sheet. This is part of effort to encourage govement to remediate impacts of coal power plants that make suffer the communities, and should take more ambitious step to shift to renewable energy.

AEER Told Chairman Rio Tinto To Stop Participate in Environment Destruction in Grasberg, Papua

AEER spoke at the Annual General Meeting of Rio Tinto at 11 April 2018 in London, UK, to Board of Directors and shareholder, told that companies should to stop participate in environment destruction in Mimika Coastal Area, West Papua, Indonesia that has long been affecting environmental destruction to the communities.

Pius Ginting, Coordinator of AEER mentioned condition of communities in Pasir Hitam village, a fishery communities that life coastal area and estuary around Ajwa River. A village with around 100 people inhabitants in 1970s.  Since tailing had been disposed in Ajwa River Tailing Disposition Area and surrounded their coast area, majority of community had to leaved the village because to live in Pasir Hitam has been more difficult for water access, and water transportation has been obstructed  to the village due to tailing sedimentation.

AEERs also demanded that company must ensure justice fulfilled for the family the late Imakulata Emakeparo that was shot dead by security forces that working for company in February 2018.

Activist from London Mining Network (LMN), Andrew Hickman also asking the responsibility of Rio Tinto  on environmental destruction and human rights violations if the company pulling out from Grasberg mining.

Roger Moody, activist of  LMN reminded long history of human rights violation and environmental destruction related to Grasberg-Eastberg mining, asking company apply the policy of Norway Pension Fund that has withdrew its investment in Rio Tinto due to potential prolonging environment destruction and human rights violations.


Further report from Rio Tino plc AGM, April 2018 can be be found here


AEER report of coastal area Mimika due to Grasberg mining can be found here

Publications and Reports/Publikasi dan Laporan


Mimika’s Coastal Dystopia; Besieged by Freeport Indonesia’s Mine Tailings Slurry


From the use of electronics, electricity and telecommunications to transportation, all our infrastructure involves the use of copper. It was thanks to the use of copper that human civilization left the Stone Age and entered the Bronze Age. Initially, humans only mined copper ore when its copper content was high enough, including ‘native copper’ with 100% copper content, which produces very little mining waste. The tools were still simple, the need for copper was still relatively low, and it wasn’t efficient to mine and process ore containing low copper content.

In modern times, particularly since the discovery of electricity, advancements in mining and extraction technology have enabled copper exploitation on a massive scale. With powerful modern equipment capable of large scale exploitation, copper mining now supports many aspects of modern life. Even ore containing less than 2% copper is now mined, generating much more slurry waste per metal unit recovered, and resulting in extensive environmental damage.

Meanwhile, mining has not helped local people around the mining sites and tailings zones to modernise in terms of their housing, or supporting their healthy traditional fishing and food gathering. The community’s livelihoods at the mine site remain underdeveloped, and they live with deteriorating environmental conditions due to mine waste disposal. One of the communities experiencing severe negative impacts of mining is the coastal area of Mimika District, Papua Province, Indonesia.

This issue needs urgent public and government attention, so that the life of the local community can still develop within a healthy living environment. This report is an effort to raise public and government awareness of the lives of the local traditional communities around the tailings sites of Freeport Indonesia.

Read the full translation in PDF


Health Problem in Tegal Taman Village Near Indramayu Coal Power Plant I


            Air pollution is a big risk for health, ranked as number 4 after high blood pressure, dietary and smoking risk globally. Estimated, there are 6.5 million premature death due o air pollution.[1] Fine particle is the most dangerous along with sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and above ground ozone that causing several illness.

Coal power plant is one of sources of these pollutants. This publication is exploring health problem related to air pollution in Tegal Taman Village, Indramayu District, West Java Province.

Near from Tegal Taman Village, less that 4 km eastward, exists Indramayu Coal Power Plant I. It has been in operation phase since 2010. Project construction started year 2007 by a consortium of China National Machinery Industry Corp (SINOMACH), China National Electric Equipment Corp (CNEEC) and PT. Penta Adi Samudra. The coal power plant is using low rank coal.

Financing for this project come from Consortium of China Construction Bank,  PLN (Indonesia’s state owned electric utility), and Indonesians bank. Indramayu Coal Power Plant I, located in previously active as 83 hectares agriculture land. Coal power plant has capacity 3×330 megawatt (MW).

Next to the existing coal power plant, another coal power plant with capacity 1000 MW is in the planning process, supported financially by JICA Japan.

Read the full translation in pdf

Press Release on National Children Day

The government must stop children from becoming victims of coal power plant pollution

 Jakarta (24 Juli 2017) Indonesia is celebrating the 23rd of July as Children Day. As more coal power plants have been built in Indonesia, more children become victims of the air pollution. AEER (Aksi Ekologi dan Emansipasi Rakyat) and its network have been documenting coal power plant impacts on children. AEER found several cases where children suffered from upper respiratory tract infections. Among them, were children, that had taken medical treatment over a periode of six months as ordered by a doctor, who is specialist in respiratory diseases.

The coal industry knows very well about the health impacts resulting from the  air pollution caused by coal power plants. One of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of a company mentioned that: “bad air quality will impact community health and the flora that is located around the project. Disturbance on human health will be manifested in the upper respiratory tract.”

 Also it mentioned: “if communities that are exposed to the dust inhale it, the dust will penetrate into the alveoli. The accumulation in the lungs will cause a sickness called pneumoconiosis.

Based on the EIAs of coal power plants, there are companies emitting pollutants to the ambient air causing pollutant concentration above air quality criteria. Coal power plants mainly emit pollutants in the form of fine particulate dust which, according to medical doctors, is very dangerous to blood vessels. Other pollutants are sulphur dioxide, besides causing acid rain it also forms particulate matter, and nitrogen oxide, which is created during high temperature burning (more that 1000oC) forming fine particulates.

Children are the most vulnerable group suffering from the impacts of air pollution caused by coal power plants, along with elder people and people with heart and lung sickness history.

Concerning all of this, the government should stop building new coal power plants. It should further limit the life cycle of existing coal power plants to not more than 20 years. And upon the existing coal power plants, the government should oblige all units to use the best available technology to prevent pollution. All companies have to build air pollution monitoring stations in the surrounding area of community settlements. Companies have to be transparent and accountable towards communities with regular monitoring reports. (end).


Contact media:

Pius Ginting,






As 210,800 Indonesians Die Per Year Due to Air Pollution, Urgently Switch to Clean Energy Needed


Jakarta (29 May 2017) World health agency WHO has released World Health Statistic 2017 report. The report says total deaths from air pollution are 6.7 million deaths in 2012. This represents 11.6% of global deaths. Of this amount, as many as 4.3 million deadths due to domestic air pollution. And  3  million died due to outdoor pollution.
For Indonesia, there were 85 deaths per 100,000 population in 2012 due to air pollution. This means there were 210,800 deaths throughout Indonesia in the year due to air pollution.

Of the total 210,800 deaths, 165,000 were due to domestic air pollution.  In this category, Indonesia is ranked number 3 after China and India recorded.  The rest, which is 45,800 died due to outdoor air pollution.

The number of deaths is very alarming. And potentially big increases since 2012 as the government does not reduce the source of the cause.

The source of the cause of domestic air pollution is generally due to the use of firewood as fuel. That way, the government needs to introduce cleaner energy, especially in areas that still use firewood for cooking.

Meanwhile, sources of outdoor air pollution outside are mainly motor vehicles and coal-fired power plants.

Pius Ginting, activist of AEER (Ecological Action and the Emancipation of People) stated to save the lives of the people from death due to air pollution, Jokowi’s energy policy which puts coal as the dominant power plant every year, from 53% in 2014 to 56% by 2015, needs to be changed immediately by putting renewable energy as a major energy source. Renewable energy is continuing cheaper  safe for people’s health.

Quo Vadis Renewable Energy?

Most of Indonesia’s electricity currently produced by coal plants, with 140 806 GWh (56%) capacity in 2016. The coal power plant is long-lived, can reach age of 40 years as Kamojang power plant. Long life is also reflected in the power purchase agreement between PLN and power generation company’s 30-year as stipulated in the Energy and Mineral Ministerial Regulation No. 19 Year 2017 on Coal Utilization for Power Generation and Power Purchase Excess (Excess Power). Thus, once it is decided to build a coal power plant, then the energy system area with this electric generator will be locked long enough with plant this type. The other hand, electricity Indonesia is currently only containing 1% renewables (PLN RUPTL 2016-2025).

Indonesia government has issued the National Energy Policy (KEN), that targeting new and renewable energy by 2025 as much as 23%. KEN targets have been incorporated into a carbon emissions reduction program components, described in the document NDC (Nationally Determined Commitment) that has been agreed in Paris 2016. The government has ratified the Paris climate deal through Law No. 16 Year 2016 on Ratification of the Paris Agreement to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Indonesia’s contribution to emissions reduction is 29% by its own efforts and to 41% if there is international cooperation in 2030 compared to business as usual. Part of this target will be achieved through energy sector.

However, several new policies in the energy sector today potentially deviate path to achieve the commitment targets to mitigate climate change, as well to achieve renewable energy targets in KEN.

Java island, as the biggest sub system of Indonesia power generation (75% of PLN’s electricity in 2015) is dominated by coal plants. This sub system already has a high enough reserve capacity, i.e. 31%, with larger potential of oversupply as several coal power plants is being built in pipeline. As a result, the space for the development of renewable energy is very limited in Java.

Sub system of energy grids that open to new electric generation are located outside Java, especially in eastern Indonesia that still lack of electricity supply. Its contribution to the KEN’s target actually not big considering regional electricity consumption only 6% of the national energy demand in 2015. However, still with low of electrification ratio, the development of renewable energy in the eastern part of Indonesia is urgent. But this was not supported by the regulations. The new policies issued instead giving space of affirmation for coal power plant fuel not to renewable energy. The cost of supply (BPP) power generation of the ​​eastern Indonesia, such as NTB, Papua, Maluku and East Nusa Tenggara are more than doubled compared to the average cost of the national which is 7 US cents per Kwh. These areas are relatively far from the coal source located in Kalimantan and South Sumatra. The areas have potential for renewable energy development such as wind and solar renewable energy, but still not empowered by policies.

Sbr foto: Yayasan Pusaka

Regulation of the Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources No. 12 Year 2017 on Utilization of Renewable Energy Sources for Electricity Supply established a mechanism of price caps for solar and wind power technology but not for non mouth of the mine coal plants, making both types of renewable energy will be difficult to develop in the east area. Regulation of Minister No. 12 of 2017 makes solar power and wind as the last choice in power generation after there are no other primary energy sources. Also, renewable energy is tasked to reduce the cost of electric supply. When local BPP above average national generation, then the purchase price of electricity from solar and wind power are limited to a maximum of 85% of BPP local plants.

Stark advantage is given to coal power plant under Regulation Minister No. 19 of 2017. In an area that has BPP higher than the average national plant (generally applicable to all the provinces of Eastern Indonesia), for generating power less than or equal to 100 MW allowed to be auctioned. Data on 35,000 MW program, the first FTP (Fast Track Program) and the second FTP II showed all coal power plant in the eastern region under 100 MW. Given the coal power generation technology has matured, and developed countries began to leave this kind of technology due to restriction related to environmental pollution, and also restrictions on new coal power plant in India and China (Report CoalSwarm 2017), cost of coal power technology become cheap, and Indonesia become potential to be the location of “dumping” coal technologies, including the eastern part.

Providing energy access to the last communities without, from experiences of some countries showed for increasing electrification rate from 85% to 100% have more severe challenges. The 10-15% last community groups without access to electricity are generally constrained by geographical, economic and dispersion of users. Renewable energy is suitable to face these challenges, due to more easy to to be decentralized based local energy resources. Therefore, renewable energy should be main candidate for eastern Indonesia with electrification ratio lower than the national electrification ratio, to help government target to reach electrification 99.7% by 2025 from 88.3% in 2015.

To achieve this target giving electricity access to communities in remote areas, would need support such as viability gap fund for private sector to build renewable energy generation, or subsidies to PLN’s unit that work in these territories. It is not yet reflected in several regulations curently issued by the government.

Jokowi government should provide and review closely on implementation regulation to reach commitments of climate, renewable energy, and electrification ratio target. The current regulation seems not lead towards these targets. Therefore, it is important to conduct an evaluation and review of the latest regulations related to this electricity

AEER Works With Communities

Pak Sutawi (64), a native of Kaliaman, farms near Tanjung Jati coal power plant and suffers decreasing yield due to acid rain from coal plant pollution.
A fishing boat in Tubanan village left unused as distance to fishing location increases, making operational cost higher than revenue .
A coal plant located very near to residential areas, leaving the inhabitants exposed to dangerous coal plant emission.
Pak Wagio and his family, all work as farmers.
a watermelon seedling