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Overcoming “Not-in-my-backyard” syndrome

14. 3. 2024

Overcoming “Not-in-my-backyard” syndrome

  • Renewable energy
  • Gigatonne thinking
  • Sustainable agriculture

“Not in my backyard!”

It’s a term often heard when discussing where to place energy production sites. Some places, there’s even an acronym for this: a NIMBY

Worldwide, everyone recognizes the need for energy, but many communities are hesitant to have energy installations like nuclear power plants, wind turbines, or solar farms near their homes. They’re worried about environmental impact, aesthetics, and health issues. These concerns have a big impact on whether or not low-carbon energy production sites go from dream to reality.


Holistic from Day 1

A key to overcoming "not in my backyard" syndrome is to provide engagement, understanding, and, importantly, tangible benefits for local communities.

Each phase of any project should be as environmentally friendly and socially responsible as possible to ensure that the solution integrates into the local environment without leaving lasting scars. That means considering the entire lifecycle of renewable energy solutions — from manufacturing and installation to operation and decommissioning. It also means understanding and being clear about benefits, opportunities, and costs. 

This is a philosophy we live by at MASH Makes. Here, we specialise in producing biochar and bio-oil exclusively from agricultural and agro-processing residues. To do this, we work with local partners to ensure the benefits of biochar production flow back into the communities where we operate.

Our production facilities are designed to:

  • Create jobs locally: By setting up operations in local communities, we create jobs and contribute to the local economy. Our production site in Karnataka, India currently has 14 full-time employees, and another 20 contract workers. Moreover, we aim to scale our commercial operations in India and the region from two to 30 sites by 2027. All employees are well compensated and receive benefits like pension (via PF), medical insurance, accommodation and meals during their respective shifts.
  • Support local agriculture: We produce biochar which can be affordably used by local farmers to enhance soil carbon, soil quality, improve crop yield, and reduce fertilizer needs. In fact, our second-season trials showed that our biochar reduced drought-induced losses by over 60% and effectively doubled the crop yield. This not only improves the resilience of food supply chains, but also the livelihoods of farmers.
  • Leave no trace: Our equipment portfolio is built to easily deploy and scale. If and when our installations need to be decommissioned, they can be packed up in a shipping container and redeployed without permanently altering the landscape. For future sites, we aim to operate a greenfield to greenfield approach. We’re currently looking at how to mitigate and enhance our biodiversity footprint in line with current science and best practice.


Using diverse renewable sources

MASH Makes is just part of the solution. By using a combination of wind, solar, biofuels, and other renewable sources, it’s possible to tailor energy solutions to the specific needs and preferences of local communities, making them more receptive to hosting these installations.

Each technology faces its own challenges, including regulatory bans, resource intensity, and dependency on scarce materials. We must recognize these challenges on Day 1 and innovate beyond them. 

By embracing this comprehensive, community-engaged approach, we can shift the narrative from "not in my backyard" to "proudly in my community," transforming energy production sites from perceived nuisances to symbols of progress and prosperity.


Want to learn more about MASH Makes’ approach to Gigatonne Thinking? Read more.


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