In the fall of 2022, Jones Power was selected as the civil construction contractor for a 300-megawatt utility-scale solar power facility located in Goliad County, Texas. The project schedule overlapped with the final clarifications and implementation requirements of the newly passed Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). The IRA allows clean energy projects the opportunity to receive tax credits, with additional tax credits for items such as domestic content and apprenticeship programs. Because of the early ambiguity of the IRA’s policy details and parameters, projects such as this one in south Texas began construction without clear instruction on the requirements for IRA compliance. However, in parallel to the early development of this project, Jones Power worked proactively and diligently with the US Department of Labor (DoL) to ensure the documentation and processes employed during civil construction would fulfill the eventual IRA requirements.
Keeping any complex project on schedule comes with its own set of difficulties. Keeping this particular project on track while maintaining IRA compliance, at a time when the IRA regulations were still being finalized, was a particularly daunting challenge. The Goliad project needed a civil subcontractor with a history of proven success, the discipline to implement and document the IRA compliance processes, while being agile enough to navigate the changing IRA requirements. Because of the challenges above, very few contractors were capable of meeting the requirements in time to keep the project on schedule. However, the main EPC contractor selected Jones Power in part because of their ability to navigate the IRA process.
In the summer of 2022, several months before being officially selected as construction contractor on the Goliad project, Jones Power recognized the likelihood that the IRA would be passed into law and made the strategic decision to invest capital and manpower ahead of the compliance curve. Jones Power was aware that developing nationally accredited apprenticeship programs and meeting the prevailing wage requirements were two key components of the legislation and focused their preparations accordingly. Senior Vice President Jeff Dillon recalled, “We saw what was coming, and knew we wanted to be an industry leader in developing an IRA compliant apprenticeship program for the scope of services we provide. We immediately contacted the Department of Labor to begin the process. Over the course of many conversations, we became confident we could be one of the earliest available accredited apprenticeship programs to be fully IRA compliant.” Within six months, Power Forward™, the Jones Power apprenticeship program, was established. As it turned out for Jones Power, the creation and implementation of the Power Forward™ Program was assisted by the fact that Jones Power had already implemented a core company apprenticeship program several years prior. Providing a clear path for career growth and advancement to employees has been a longstanding cultural norm at Jones Power because it provides benefits to the people and the company. Therefore, with the addition and incorporation of various additional tools, processes, and offerings, Power Forward ™ became a Department of Labor (DoL) accredited, IRA compliant apprenticeship program.
The second challenge was meeting the prevailing wage requirement. Contrary to initial perceptions, meeting the wage minimums was not the main concern. Jones Power’s compensation package already exceeded the standards in most project locations. As is often the case with regulations, the bigger challenge was providing the necessary documentation and reporting to satisfy the new regulations. Achieving government compliance required new investments and additional resources. It took approximately eight months to evaluate various software offerings, select the appropriate solutions, upgrade these systems, and implement the HR, payroll, and document management systems to meet IRA standards. It was no simple task by any means. However, the implementation of these new systems and the implementation of the Power Forward™ program have given Jones Power great confidence in their ability to meet their industry leadership and IRA compliance goals, and at the same time have helped them to meet the needs of the Goliad project.
“I could not be more proud of my team,” stated Jones Power CEO John Clark. “They had the foresight to see what was coming with the IRA, and the business intelligence and the entrepreneurial spirit to attack the opportunity. We knew helping our clients secure their investment tax credit would soon become a critical industry need. With the Power Forward™ program in place, as well as several gigawatts of utility-scale projects now under our belts and in execution phase, we’re well-positioned to deliver differentiated value to our employees and to our clients nationwide.”
Jones Power broke ground on the Goliad project civil work in late February 2023, with their scope of work anticipated to be completed on time and on budget this September.
About Jones Power
Jones Power was established in 2011 by Jones Capital to provide logistics, construction, and specialty services to the energy industry. Industries serviced today remain primarily renewable energy and midstream oil and gas. Core services range from project planning, civil and mechanical construction, environmental controls, yard and inventory management, rail logistics, and pipeline storage, staging, and stringing. The Jones Power team brings decades of experience to every project and strives to exceed customer expectations on all engagements. To learn more, visit us at www.JonesPower.com, or find us on LinkedIn at LinkedIn.com/company/JonesPower.
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