Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Powering an Equitable Clean Energy Future for Illinois
The Illinois Power Agency (IPA) is committed to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI). The IPA recognizes that DEI is central to its mission and is imperative to the work we do as an Agency. At the IPA, we strive to:
- Ensure the uniqueness and dignity of all individuals.
- Foster a culture of belonging and strive for equity.
- Ensure DEI principles inform our work in the clean energy sector.
- Strengthen and advance equity in the clean energy industry by increasing access to the growing clean energy economy for communities that have been historically excluded from economic opportunities with the energy sector.
DEI Targets and Mandates
Equity Eligible Contractor Category
The Climate and Equitable Jobs Act (Public Act 102-0662 or CEJA) created new financing resources and dedicated program capacity to support renewable energy projects led by Equity Eligible Contractors within the IPA’s Illinois Shines Program (known in Illinois law as the Adjustable Block Program).
To learn more, visit the Equity Eligible Contractor page of the Adjustable Block Program website.
Minimum Equity Standard
CEJA created an Equity Accountability System mandating minimum equity standards for certain IPA-administered renewable energy programs and procurements. The Minimum Equity Standard (“MES”) helps ensure that the growing clean energy economy is accessible by everyone. Under the MES, an increasing portion of the workforce of an entity participating in the IPA’s Illinois Shines Program or competitive renewable energy procurements must meet baseline equity requirements.
To learn more about the Minimum Standard requirements, see section 10.1.3.1 of the Agency’s Long-Term Renewable Resources Procurement Plan.
For stakeholder engagement and key updates on MES, visit the Stakeholder Engagement page under Renewable Resources on the IPA website.
Energy Workforce Equity Portal
CEJA directed the IPA and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (“DCEO”) to help historically underserved communities participate in and benefit from the growing clean energy economy. As part of this mandate, the IPA and DCEO are required to create and maintain an Energy Workforce Equity Portal, a public-facing tool that connects clean energy companies and developers with equity eligible persons looking to work in the clean energy sector in Illinois. The portal both helps equity eligible persons receive employment opportunities while assisting clean energy development companies with Phase I of the portal was launched on January 31, 2023. Phase II will be launched in June 2023.
To learn more, visit energyequity.illinois.gov
For questions about the portal, please email IPA.EnergyEquity@illinois.gov.
Racial Disparity Study
The IPA will be conducting a Racial Disparity Study across 2023 and 2024 to measure the presence and impact of discrimination on minority businesses and workers in Illinois’ clean energy economy. The Racial Disparity Study will review access, participation, and utilization of contractors with a special emphasis on minority owned business enterprises, and minority and disadvantaged workers.
The IPA’s small and minority business outreach efforts are designed to develop and foster a culture that prioritizes advancing access to communities that have been excluded from economic opportunities within the solar energy sector. The IPA’s outreach efforts are targeted toward minority business associations and other agencies to increase access to program education, recruitment, and relevant participation.
For questions about outreach, please email IPA DEI Outreach Associate Kina Askew at firstname.lastname@example.org.
DEI Educational Resources
IPA DEI Webinars & Training
- Energy Workforce Equity Portal Training (April 4, 2023) for clean energy companies participating in the Illinois Shines Program and developers of utility-scale wind and solar projects. Registration required.
- Minimum Equity Standard Compliance Plan and Waiver Request Training (see "Minimum Equity Standard")
- IPA Power Hour Webinar: Equitable Solar Workforce Development: Challenges and Opportunities
- IPA Power Hour Webinar: Creating a Diverse and Equitable Energy Workforce
- IPA Power Hour Webinar: CEJA Turns One: Key Highlights from the IPA
External DEI Webinars & Training
- No Climate. No Equity. No Deal: A feature showcasing CEJA at the One Earth Film Festival - March 7