The Climate and Equitable Jobs Act amended the Illinois Power Agency Act to expand the “priority access to the clean energy economy for businesses and workers from communities that have been excluded from economic opportunities in the energy sector, have been subject to disproportionate levels of pollution, and have disproportionately experienced negative public health outcomes.”

To advance that objective, the Act directed the Agency to establish an Equity Accountability System (EAS), which includes the following:

  • Minimum equity standards applicable to all applicants to the Agency’s renewable energy procurements, both through the Adjustable Block Program (Illinois Shines) and competitive procurements
  • Establishes the Equity Eligible Contractor category with Illinois Shines
  • Requirements for competitive procurement processes that advance the equity goals of the Act
The Act further establishes several required monitoring, reporting, and facilitation requirements to support the assessment of the equity accountability system. Section 1-75(c-10)(4) of the IPA Act directs the Agency to include the following in each revision to the Long-Term Renewable Resources Procurement Plan:

  • Current number of Equity Eligible Contractors certified by the Agency
  • A mechanism for measuring and reporting project workforce profiles at the Approved Vendor or Designee level
  • Training, guidance, and other support for Approved Vendors, Designees, Equity Eligible Contractors, and other stakeholders for meeting the requirements of the EEC category within Adjustable Block Program and the minimum equity standards laid out in this section
  • A process for certifying Equity Eligible Contractors and persons (please see Chapter 7 of the Long-Term Plan for more details)
  • A waiver application process for rare cases of inability to meet the minimum equity standard

Chapters 7 and 10 of the Long-Term Plan fulfill the requirements of Public Act 102-0662 with regard to the Equity Accountability System.

The Act also empowers the Agency to assess and attempt to ameliorate existing racial discrimination or disparities in rates of participation in the clean energy economy:

  • Section 1-75(c-15)(2) directs the Agency to commission and publish a racial disparity study to “measure the presence and impact of discrimination on minority businesses and workers in Illinois’ clean energy economy”
  • Section 1-75(c-20) directs the Agency to “collect data from program applicants in order to track and improve equitable distribution of benefits across Illinois communities for all procurements the Agency conducts”
  • Section 1-75(c-25) directs the Agency to work with the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity to create an Energy Workforce Equity Database in order to facilitate the engagement of Equity Eligible Contractors and persons on clean energy projects

On October 4, 2022, the Agency and Program Administrator presented an “Equity Accountability System and Illinois Shines” webinar, and on November 15, 2022, hosted Part 2 of the EAS introduction. A recording of both webinars and the presentation slides are available here, as well as questions and answers from the webinars. All AVs and Designees are strongly encouraged to attend the webinar series or to view the recording to ensure comprehension and compliance with forthcoming Program requirements. Upon viewing the presentation, Approved Vendors and Designees are asked to complete Attestation Forms linked at this page, to indicate indicating their viewing and provide information about how they will incorporate EAS plans into their organization.