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It is important to have a clear mission statement for your Clean Energy Task Force, one that guides you in setting priorities and addressing issues. You may have language from your founding resolution or other communications from local government. While that language is a useful foundation, it may not be compelling.

One of the most important uses of a mission statement is to guide choices of projects and strategies. If your Clean Energy Task Force’s mission statement is to scale up renewable energy in the community, then a forum on natural gas infrastructure – however interesting and timely – may not advance your mission. The statement can also help you establish boundaries with similar groups by showing what is unique about your goals and methods.

A good mission statement can be simple. 50 words should do it. The process of creating it can also be simple. It need not require a weekend retreat or flip charts – just a thoughtful conversation to capture the group’s basic understanding of its scope and the kinds of change it is here to achieve.

Examples:

Groups find lots of ways to frame their goals within the context of local expectations and resources, and often want to include some thoughts on how they will work as well as what they will achieve. Typical grassroots mission statements may emphasize what the group is assigned to do, more than the outcomes it aims to achieve. Consider this:

“While being aware of global initiatives, we will collaborate at the community level to identify areas for conserving natural resources, to promote greater use of renewable energy, to help reduce emissions and pollution, and to increase individual awareness of ecology. We plan to help our community live sustainably and be good stewards for the earth.” (Newtown, CT www.gogreennewtown.com/)

Newtown’s statement identifies goals clearly in terms of energy practices and community education, even though it takes a little reading to get to these things.

Branford’s mission statement highlights energy strategies for meeting the 20% goal, but focuses on its assumed role – identifying options – rather than allowing for flexible means to achieve the goal. This might work out fine but might be constraining.

“The Task Force investigates options for meeting the 20% goal, such as on-site renewable generation, energy efficiency, and Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs), and encourages residents and businesses to enroll in the CTCleanEnergyOptions program. The Task Force also distributes grant money for local clean energy awareness projects.” (Branford, CT http://www.branfordcleanenergy.com)

Litchfield’s mission statement captures the essential goal at the end, and scopes out reasonable methods:

“to encourage and assist the Town of Litchfield as well as its businesses, organizations and residents to reduce energy consumption through the practice of conservation and through energy efficiency. To increase the use of clean and renewable sources of energy where possible.” (Litchfield, CT www.litchfieldenergytaskforce.org/)

A local enabling resolution provides important guidance, but it is not a mission statement. It is often a summary of the kinds of activities that the group is authorized to engage in.

WHEREAS, the purpose of [the West Hartford] Task Force includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • to help ensure investigation of options for meeting the 20% by 2010 goal,
  • to help investigate purchasing of Renewable Energy Certificates and/or local clean energy installations,
  • to aid in looking into funding opportunities,
  • to explore Connecticut’s Clean Energy Communities Program for benefits obtainable by and for West Hartford and propose recommendations for use of such benefits,
  • to investigate and maintain communication with organizations in the state that oversee the Clean Energy initiative, including, but not limited to, SmartPower, CT Clean Water Action, and the electric companies, and
  • to engage in any other activities determined necessary by the town administration or the Task Force itself;”

Missing from the statement – though not from the Task Force’s actions – is the notion of leadership and strategy for swift achievement of the goal. The statement above suggests that the group’s focus is on identifying useful actions for local government to take, which has been part of this highly effective Task Force’s work. But the final element – “engage in other activities” – has been the driver for ambitious public solar installations, Solarize campaigns and more.

It is worth the time and focus to create an outcomes-oriented mission statement, and making sure it covers the full spectrum of the work you see is needed. For example, Enfield’s Clean Energy Committee was formed “to promote renewable energy options for the town.” But nowhere in its founding resolution was energy-efficiency even mentioned. After a Solarize initiative, Town Council representatives noticed that the group seemed one-dimensional and wondered how it could serve the households not suited for solar or ready for it. Out of that discussion, the group affirmed that “This includes energy-efficiency, since the cleanest energy is what we don’t use.”

“Helping our town to get at least 20% of its energy from renewable sources by 2020 and inspire the whole community to do likewise” is a perfectly fine “mission statement in a can”.

Resources

 

Community Updates

WOODSTOCK’S NEW 1MW SOLAR ARRAY
PROJECTED TO SAVE OVER 2.4 MILLION OVER THE NEXT TWENTY YEARS

Woodstock is currently in the process of installing their 1MW solar array.  The array will be a brownfield installation covering, what once was, their former landfill.  Concrete ballasts will weigh down the panel's framework to prevent any breach of the landfill's membrane... See Press Release

HES COPAY PRICE INCREASE

In the recent approval of the 2016-18 Conservation and Load Management (CL&M) Plan by the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP), there is good news and not-so-good news... Read More

 

 

Calendar Highlights

FALL GATHERING

HIGHLIGHTS OF CT’s FALL GATHERING of clean energy task forces can be found here in our Knowledge Center’s Program Archives pages. Diane Duva (the Director of Energy Demand at DEEP’s Bureau of Energy and Technology Policy is pictured here) facilitating the shaping of our state’s energy future.

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Clean Energy Communities Listening Session Letter of Thanks and Follow-up

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