Terry Royer, president and CEO of Winergy Drive Systems Corporation in Elgin, was among a group of energy industry executives and academics who met with President Barack Obama at the White House last week.
The session was held in advance of a policy speech on energy and climate change Obama is set to give Friday at the Argonne National Laboratory in southwest suburban Lemont.
According to reports, the meeting also included Jim Hackett, chairman of independent oil and natural gas producer Anadarko Petroleum Corp.; Shirley Jackson, president of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and former chair of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission; Lew Hay, chairman of NextEra Energy Inc.; Alex Laskey, president and co-founder of energy-related software firm Opower Inc.; Debra Reed, CEO of natural gas distributor Sempra Energy; Bill Ritter, a former Colorado governor who heads Colorado State University’s Center for New Energy Economy; Jeff Shaw, CEO of natural gas distributor Southwest Gas Corp.; Fred Smith, chairman, president and CEO of FedEx Corp.; Cass Sunstein, a professor at Harvard Law School and former White House Budget Office adviser; and Cynthia Warner, chairman and CEO of Sapphire Energy Inc., which makes fuel from algae.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters the meeting was about the president’s clean-energy agenda for his second term.
Earnest said that during Obama’s time as president, domestic oil and gas production have increased annually; energy produced from renewable sources such as wind and solar has more than doubled; and carbon pollution has decreased.
An interview with Royer for The Courier-News about the meeting that had been set for Monday afternoon was cancelled Monday morning. Carol Gieske, president of the Elgin Area Chamber of Commerce, said, “It was a closed meeting, so he is unable to discuss what transpired.”
Royer, who is on the board of directors of the Elgin Area Chamber of Commerce, also was among 14 executives called to the White House last May.
That meeting focused on Congress’ failure at the time to renew the Production Tax Credit, a program in place since 1992 that had been extended on and off since then, including being part of the 2009 stimulus package that kept the credits in place until the end of 2012. The PTC grants a 2.2-cent corporate income tax credit for every kilowatt-hour of energy produced from wind turbines.
Royer had also testified last April at a House Committee on Science Space and Technology (Subcommittee on Energy and Environment/Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight) hearing on the impact of tax policies on the commercial application of renewable energy technology.
In early January, the credits wound up being extended for 2013, and the feds now provide tax credits to any wind energy project either started or completed by the end of the year, according to reports.
Winergy says it is the world leader in manufacturing gearboxes for wind turbines. It employs about 380 people at its two Elgin facilities, one of which manufactures wind energy components, the other which assembles them. According to the American Wind Energy Association, about 75,000 people are employed in that industry in this country.
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