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Clean Power Now, Cape Wind supporters, disbands

BREWSTER – “Mission accomplished,” Clean Power Now, organized in 2003 to support Cape Wind’s efforts to build 130 turbines in Nantucket Sound, is dissolved.

Members received an email announcing an end to the group Dec. 22.

“We wanted to make sure people were informed in a fact based way. Whether you were for or against wasn’t our goal. We wanted to provide people with credible information so they could decide based on real information, not manipulation,” reflected CPN’s executive Director Barbara Hill. “So I think we added great value to the community. So while it’s bittersweet, it’s a refreshing decision for an organization to say, you know what, we did our job so spend your money on another organization that still has a job to do.”

The battle over Cape Wind is now mostly in the courts as they collected their last permits and approvals last year – although some may have to be revisited. They are still seeking to sell the electricity produced. CPN was always more focused on public opinion and the hearings. And other groups, such as the National Wildlife Federation, were raising funds and forming wind advocacy groups.

“It is becoming increasingly difficult to raise funds as a small nonprofit. It’s been difficult since 2008,” Hill conceded. “After the final approval in 2010 other bigger players started to get into the offshore wind space and can’t compete get funding and get grants. So the board met and considered that we were never into the business end of Cape Wind, that’s not our purview; the selling of the power.”

So they decided than existing for the sake of existing they would let go.

“When the project is built we will definitely celebrate. I’m not leaving Cape Cod,” Hill said. “It’s difficult to keep people motivated and engaged without a real purpose, and I think we met that goal. We did the work of a grassroots organization. We went to the Barnstable County Fair, the Falmouth Seaside Festival, and spoke to Rotary Clubs, alumni luncheons, Girl Scout troops. We did the work that was really difficult.”

The group said they’d gained 12,000 members through the eight years. With Cape Wind no longer in the approval stage, and other projects in a talk but no action state, Hill feels there is little left to do.

“Building turbines offshore was our core mission – to inform and educate people and provide facts about offshore wind and make sure people could participate fully in the regulatory revue process,” she said. “I feel we did that. We motivated thousands of people to attend public hearings, and to submit comments.”

They decided to shut down now, before 2012, when people might start writing fresh checks and donations.

“Given that and the challenges to non-profits we decided to make the decision before the end of the calendar year,” Hill reflected. “I also do believe non-profits have a life cycle and looking at what we could accomplish with limited resources, we don’t have the deep pockets other organizations may have, we decided to just say mission accomplished.”