State Sen. Mike Bennett, R-Bradenton, has introduced a bill similar to a measure that passed the House last year but died in the Senate, which would have allowed private utilities to charge customers for renewable power. #
Bennett’s bill would allow private utilities to pass on to customers the cost of increasing their mix of renewable sources, up to an amount equal to 2 percent of their revenues in 2011 and 2012, with the limit gradually rising to 4 percent by 2014. #
The bill would cover various forms of renewable energy, including solar and biomass. #
In an interview last year, FPL project management director Buck Martinez said such a “cost recovery” measure would eventually allow the utility to install hundreds of megawatts of solar panels, which would help jump-start a solar industry in Florida. #
Now, when the company builds solar installations, he said the company imports many of its parts from Asia, and much of its expertise from places like California and Germany. Large-scale solar companies would need to know the demand will last over the long term before setting up a shop in Florida. #
Another bill introduced by Bennett would create a fund to pay for energy rebates and allow independent producers — such as businesses or homeowners that install solar panels on their roofs — to sell renewable power at rates equal to those charged by utilities to recover their costs. That measure, he said, is open to tweaks. #
One measure favors concentrated, utility-owned solar generation, while the other favors small-scale, “distributed” power. Some renewable energy advocates favor a combination of the two approaches. #
They're at it again. In 2006, Florida lawmakers passed a law that would have placed new restrictions on independent groups that register voters. That law drew a court challenge that ultimately succeeded in changing it. They tried again in 2008, prompting another legal battle. Now, in the name of curbing fraudulent registrations, the Florida House has introduced a sweeping overhaul of the state's election laws that proposes new restrictions on third-party voter registration groups.