Especially for governments of ‘emerging economies’ like Indonesia, securing energy supply is a crucial concern. The Indonesian government argues that the expansion of domestic electricity production is geared towards ensuring availability and affordability, thereby enhancing social justice and prosperity. However, civil society actors are clearly challenging these claims as a large share of future electricity supply shall be based on coal. To them, open-pit coal mining and the construction of new coal power plants are not only having tremendous environmental impacts, but do also enforce social injustices. Moreover, are illegal practices are contributing to human rights violations and weak law enforcement. While these claims are common to a broad network of NGOs, their forms of contestation differ with respects to the norms and narratives they refer to as well as the strategies they adopt and the collaborations they seek. Based on a Gramscian approach, the paper elaborates on the question in how far and in what ways hegemonic orders are being challenged by NGO activists. It concludes that while a distinction between different NGO streams in terms of ideological counter-hegemonic concepts is useful, domestic political-economic structures are significantly limiting spaces of resistance.