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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Utility's plan to control solar market in Florida gets new life



In a last ditch attempt to revive legislation that would let them control the market for solar power development in the state, Florida Power & Light has proposed a compromise that would allow state regulators to determine if they are entitled to raise rates to pay the costs of renewable energy plants.

The amendment to the measure, which had zipped through House and Senate committees, is intended to win the approval of Gov. Rick Scott, said Rep. Clay Ford, the chairman of the House Energy and Utilities Subcommittee.

The governor balked at provisions in the bill that now allow FPL – and any other investor-owned utility that wants to develop renewable energy – to automatically raise rates by 2 percent a year, said Ford, a Gulf Breeze Republican. A tea party group had complained about the plan.

“It was on life support,’’ Ford told the Herald/Times. By drafting a rewrite to give approval for the rate increases to the Public Service Commission, “it’s got a fresh life to it now,’’ he said.

Ford said FPL sought the bill and is willing to make the investment needed to expand its solar energy generation, as long as it can get reimbursed from customers. The bill would allow FPL to hold a competitive advantage over other companies trying to get into Florida’s potentially lucrative renewable energy market. More here.

[Last modified: Tuesday, April 19, 2011 11:19am]


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