One of the biggest supporters of cycling in North America, the Exergy Development Group, has confirmed rumors of unpaid sponsorship invoices, but promised that it would meet all of its obligations in the coming weeks, Cyclingnews has learned.
It's been nearly impossible to attend a cycling event over the past two seasons without seeing the Exergy Development Group's windmill logo splashed all over jerseys, race banners or title sponsorship. Among the Idaho-based sustainable energy company's most high-profile sponsorships are the men's Team Exergy UCI Continental Team and the Exergy-Twenty12 women's team, which featured 2012 Olympic time trial Gold medalist Kristin Armstrong and Olympic track bronze medalist Lauren Tamayo.
While both teams denied any issue with payment, multiple sources connected with some of the biggest races in the US confirmed to Cyclingnews on Tuesday that the Exergy Development Group has failed to meet some of its financial obligations for sponsorships dating back as far as last season.
Exergy Development Group was the title sponsor for last year's US Grand Prix of Cyclocross and this year's inaugural women's UCI stage race in Idaho. The company sponsored the 2012 Nature Valley Grand Prix sprinter's jersey and the most aggressive rider jerseys for Medalist Sports-run Tour of California and Tour of Utah. The company is listed as a Founding Partner, the highest level of sponsorship, for the upcoming USA Pro Cycling Challenge in Colorado, also run by Medalist Sports. USA Cycling lists Exergy as one of its sponsors as well.
Exergy's CEO James Carkulis responded to the rumors candidly, saying he's "very embarrassed about this situation", but noted that roadblocks in their energy business have trickled down to some cycling sponsorships.
"This year has been a bit of a strange year for us when it's come to our normal business practices. We have tens of millions of dollars that are invested into our [energy] projects and we've had a number of delays in our financial closings," Carkulis said, adding that he expects the sponsorship invoices to be paid out in the next month.
Sustainable energy has been having a rough go as of late, with the majority of government subsidies set to expire over the next two years, and, specifically in Exergy's case, eroding support from the state of Idaho and regulated utilities. Just last week Idaho Power joined other utilities seeking to convince the state Public Utilities Commission to change the formula it uses to set the price they must pay renewables developers for their power, arguing the current price is too high.
Carkulis said the industry challenges have had "a profound impact on our business", and that the "unfortunate timing" has resulted in the delays to its projects.