Dieng Banjarnegara residents oppose geothermal plant development

Residents of Karangtengah Village and Bakal Village, Batur District, Banjarnegara Regency (Dieng Kulon) held a peaceful protest related to the rejection of PT Geodipa Energi’s plan to open land for a Geothermal Power Plant (PLTPB) power plan, Thursday (11/8). (Photo source: Doc Walhi Central Java)

Semarang – Residents of Karangtengah Village and Bakal Village, Batur District, Banjarnegara Regency (Dieng Kulon) object to PT Geodipa Energi’s plan to open a Geothermal Power Plant (PLTPB) in their area. They held a prayer together and a peaceful demonstration in front of the company office on Sunday (14/8).

Ardiyanto, a resident of Karangtengah Village said this action was based on the absence of residents’ consent, ignoring the residents’ rejection and threats of damage to their living space.

The plan to open a project began when PT Geodipa Energi together with the Acting Regent of Banjarnegara planned to demolish existing buildings, clear grass, and take pipes at locations that had been rejected by residents last Thursday.

“Joint prayers and public actions are aimed at protecting our region from the threat of environmental damage, security and comfort,” said Ardiyanto in a written release.

Dafiq, another resident, said that even though the PLTPB project was not located in their own village, they feared that the harmful effects would reach Bakal Village. Because the Dieng 2 PLTP project is only 200 meters from the Sethulu spring, which is the source of life for residents.

The construction of the PLTPB in the Dieng area has caused fear to residents because of possible consequences that will arise later. Since the existence of the Dieng PLTPB, the damage has been seen, such as the taste of water that has changed and is not suitable for consumption anymore. The H2S gas leak on March 12, 2022 resulted in the death of one worker and the poisoning of six others.

“There have also been pipe explosions in 2007 and 2016 which also claimed victims,” said Dafiq

The community has the right to a good and healthy environment which is guaranteed by Article 28 H paragraph 1 of the constitution, that is, everyone has the right to live in physical and spiritual prosperity, to have a place to live, and to have a good and healthy living environment and have the right to health services.

The Advocacy and Campaign Manager of the Central Java Forum for the Environment, Iqbal Alma, said that the residents’ clean water sources were threatened because the geothermal project required a large supply of water. It is estimated that the plant requires 40 litres of water every second or 6,500-15,000 litres of water for every megawatt hour or MWh.

Meanwhile, local residents who work as farmers are threatened with their livelihoods if their water sources are disturbed. “The existence of PLTPB in the midst of the majority of the Dieng people who depend on agriculture will obviously rob them of their lives,” said Alma.

Residents are also still traumatised by the explosions in 2007 and 2017. Two people were killed in the last explosion. The explosion also caused agricultural crops to die and temperature to rise. These factors have made a number of Banjarnegara residents reject the existence of the PLTPB. (Hartatik)

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