Equity Eligible Contractors ("EEC")
The EEC category includes Distributed Generation projects as well as community solar projects that have been submitted to the Program by Equity Eligible Contractor Approved Vendors per the guidelines specified in Section 7.7.3. At least 10% of the capacity of Illinois Shines shall come from projects submitted by applicants that are EEC certified. EEC certified Approved Vendors may also submit projects into other program categories and are not limited to the EEC category. To give the market for EEC projects time to develop, for the 2022-2023 and the 2023-2024 delivery years the Agency does not propose increasing the portion Illinois Shines allocated to EEC projects above the 10% level, but expects that in the next Long-Term Plan which will cover the subsequent two delivery years, the Agency will begin to increase that percentage with the goal of reaching 40% by the 2030 delivery year.
On January 31, 2023, the Illinois Power Agency announced the launch of the Energy Workforce Equity Portal at energyequity.illinois.gov. The portal may be used by employers to connect to job seekers, register as a clean energy company, and post jobs, and by job seekers to connect to employers, explore jobs, and apply to become Equity Eligible Persons. This site includes an Equity Investment Eligible Community Map to help identify if communities and individuals reside in an identified equity investment eligible community.
A feature of the Equity Accountability System, as established by the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act, is the ability of Equity Eligible Contractors (EECs) to request an advance of a portion of REC Contract value prior to the associated project’s energization. This capital advancement pre-energization is intended to serve EEC-certified businesses exhibiting true need and to support a more diverse Approved Vendor pool.
The IPA has developed the rubric linked below as criteria for evaluating requests for an advance of capital for projects receiving a REC contract in the EEC Category for the 2022-23 and 2023-24 Program Years. Please provide comments via email attachment to [email protected] with the subject “[Responder’s Name] – Stakeholder Feedback on Advance of Capital Authorization Rubric” by November 14, 2023.
Note: The Agency has filed the 2024 Long-Term Renewable Resources Procurement Plan with the Illinois Commerce Commission and thus is not seeking any input on the advance of capital process contemplated within that Plan. Stakeholders seeking to provide input on Plan content may do so through the intervening in the open docket (Docket 23-0714). Please limit all comments in response to this request for feedback to the criteria listed below as applied to the 2022-23 and 2023-24 Program Years.
The Illinois Power Agency seeks stakeholder feedback on potential strategies to strengthen the criteria for qualifying as an Equity Eligible Contractor and for receiving incentives under the Equity Eligible Contractor block of capacity within the Illinois Shines Program. This feedback will inform new requirements as part of the IPA’s upcoming Long-Term Renewable Resources Procurement Plan. More information on the Equity Eligible Contactor category can be found in section 7.4.6 of the Agency’s Final 2022 Long-Term Renewable Resources Procurement Plan.
Please provide comments via email attachment to [email protected] with the subject “[Responder’s Name] – Stakeholder Feedback on EEC Criteria” by May 5, 2023.
Stakeholders may comment on as many or as few of the items outlined within the request for feedback as they would like. Stakeholders should not feel limited by the questions offered in the request for feedback and may provide comments on these proposals beyond the scope of these specific questions as it relates to the criteria for certifying Equity Eligible Contractors. Responses will be published on both the IPA and Illinois Shines websites. Should a commenter seek to designate any portion of its response as confidential and proprietary, that commenter should provide both public and redacted versions of its comments. Independent of that designation, if the Agency or the Program Administrator determines that a response contains confidential information that should not be disclosed, the IPA reserves the right to provide its own redactions.
The Agency is greatly interested in hearing directly from Equity Eligible Persons, Equity Eligible Contractors, or those looking to qualify as such, but generally seeks input from a wide array of stakeholders.
This blog includes key items specific to this Illinois Shines project category, but AVs and Designees are still expected to read all Program announcements in full, which contain other critical Program items and updates.