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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

King ready to give renewable energy a jolt



Sen. Jim King knows how to cut to the chase. Instead of getting all wrapped up in whether the globe faces a climate change crisis, the Jacksonville Republican is ready to move on. That's taken the form of having his committee --the Senate Communications, Energy and Public Utilities Committee -- fast-forward into the debate on renewable energy.

He's concluded the Senate is nearly "uniform'' in its support of pursuing incentives for renewable energy and his committee will adopt a plan to encourage the development of a renewable energy market in Florida.

"We have a momentum going that says we want to do it,'' King said after his committee heard two hours of testimony on the issue. He's also sure the committee will adopt a renewable portfolio standard that tells electric companies how much of their fuel mix must come from renewable energy sources. "What we're not sure of is how costly it's going to be and whether or not we come anywhere close to 20 [percent] in [2020] 20 -- and that's a concern.'' 

Renewable companies should get a financial incentive, in the form of a low-interest loan or tax rebate or something else, King said. But how much the state will have to finance these incentives is a big unknown.

The Senate won't count on federal stimulus cash, until they see the fine print, he said, but Senate leaders are prepared to dedicate some portion of the remaining $60 billion to encourage renewable development. "It depends on the source and supply of money whether we’re going to take things slowly or more rapidly but we’re going to do it,'' King said.

[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 7:31pm]


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