On February 12, 2020, the U.S. International Trade Commission (“ITC”) issued a notice stating that it will investigate and report on the potential economic effects of renewable energy commitments, including the role of renewable energy imports, in Massachusetts and the broader New England region as requested by the Committee on Ways and Means of the U.S. House of Representatives (“Committee”). The ITC intends to send the report to the Committee by January 25, 2021.

On January 23, 2020, the chairman of the Committee, Rep. Richard Neal (D-MA), sent the ITC a letter requesting an investigation and report of the potential economic effects of increased renewable energy commitments in Massachusetts specifically and New England more broadly. In the letter, Chairman Neal discussed the retirement over the last thirty years of nuclear and coal-generated power plants in Massachusetts and how the loss of these generators may be impacting electricity rates in the region. Citing to the current renewable energy goals set by New England states and the current plans within Massachusetts to import hydroelectricity from Canada, Chairman Neal requested a report from the ITC that would aid in understanding the economic impact of New England’s current renewable energy strategies. Chairman Neal requested that the report include (i) a summary of the region’s recent renewable energy goals, (ii) the potential economic effects of reaching such goals, (iii) how reaching such goals would impact greenhouse gas emissions, and (iv) case studies on how other states, regions, and countries have been previously affected by the import of hydroelectricity.

In its notice, the ITC agreed to conduct the requested investigation and provide a report that will include the information requested by the Committee, to the extent practical. The ITC will hold a public hearing on May 7, 2020 at 9:30 a.m. Eastern, with requests to appear at the hearing to be filed on or before April 16, 2020 and prehearing briefs and statements to be filed on or before April 23, 2020. Written submissions concerning the investigation should be addressed to the Secretary of the ITC and received on or before July 28, 2020.

A copy of Chairman Neal’s letter is available here, and the ITC’s notice may be found here.