Energy Networking Groups Merge

The Renewable Energy Business Network (REBN), a networking group for cleantech professionals with 10,000 members across 17 local chapters and a strong presence in the Boston area, has merged with the Clean Economy Network Foundation (CENF), a young cleantech policy research and education organization based in Washington, DC.

The news came today in an e-mail to all REBN members from founder Rob Day, currently a partner at Boston-based Black Coral Capital.

“REBN has been growing by leaps and bounds and frankly it outgrew our ability to support it with the really thin organization that we had,” Day tells Xconomy. “We started talked with CENF because they were already thinking about how they were going to tackle community building at the national level. They are a great organization, and they are full-time on this, and now we are going to be able to bring that support to REBN. And for them, it means they don’t have to reinvent the wheel.”

“There is so much synergy these days between the policy part that CENF has been working on and the networking stuff that business people care about that it just made a lot of sense” to merge the two organizations, Day continues.

The REBN name will be gradually phased out and replaced by the Clean Economy Network label, Day says. “The ‘renewable energy’ part of REBN was a bit of an anachronism anyway,” he says. “We’ve been getting into efficiency and even things like water and materials. It’s all one community, really.”

REBN co-executive directors Laura Bartsch and Helen Fairman have become network co-directors at CENF. The group’s executive director, Jeff Anderson, was formerly campaign manager at Cleantech and Green Business for Obama, a grassroots group that lobbied for the election of Barack Obama as president.

But while Day acknowledges that “these guys have shown themselves to be pretty effective community organizers,” he sayd CENF itself “is a non-partisan organization that is not involved in policy advocacy. That means REBN will continue to be non-partisan, not supporting one politician or blue or red or anything like that, but simply in favor of supporting the development of a clean economy.”

Wade Roush is a freelance science and technology journalist and the producer and host of the podcast Soonish. Follow @soonishpodcast

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