The Minimum Equity Standard is a minimum percentage of an applicant’s project workforce that must be comprised of Equity Eligible Persons. Please see additional FAQs below for definitions of “project workforce” and “Equity Eligible Person.”
The Equity Accountability System is the umbrella suite of policy levers and standards included in the Illinois Power Agency Act that advance “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” (20 ILCS 3855/1-75(c-10)). The Equity Accountability System includes the Minimum Equity Standard (“MES”), the reserved category in the Adjustable Block Program for Equity Eligible Contractors (“EECs”), and the requirements developed by the Agency to ensure “that competitive procurement processes, including utility-scale solar, utility-scale wind, and brownfield site photovoltaic projects, advance the equity goals” of the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act (20 ILCS 3855/1-75(c-10(3))).
The IPA, through its 2022 Long-Term Renewable Resources Procurement Plan (“Long-Term Plan” or “Plan”), developed requirements for utility-scale projects bid into competitive procurements for indexed REC contracts that require those projects to meet the Minimum Equity Standard and provide additional prioritization for projects that employ a higher percentage of Equity Eligible Persons (“EEPs”) than that required by the MES. Thus, the MES (and the associated Compliance Plan) and the equity prioritization mechanism constitute the pieces of the Equity Accountability System applicable to bidders in competitive procurements, and those steps constitute full compliance with the Equity Accountability System.
The IPA created a Minimum Equity Standard (MES) webpage to provide the most up to date MES related documents, educational resources, and training materials related to MES Compliance Plans and waiver requests. Please visit the IPA Minimum Equity Standard webpage here: https://ipa.illinois.gov/diversity-equity-and-inclusion/minimum-equity-standard.html
In particular, the IPA posted an MES Compliance and Waiver Request Training Presentation applicable to utility-scale solar and wind projects under the header “MES Educational Resources”.