Renewed Interest in Renewable Energy?

Gov. Charlie Crist is exploring adding renewable energy measures to a special session he may call to put on the November ballot a constitutional ban on oil-drilling in Florida’s gulf waters.

Crist spoke Monday with Senate President Jeff Atwater, R-North Palm Beach, to discuss prospects for a special session. Atwater spokeswoman Jaryn Emhof said the discussion centered on the governor’s interest in reviving renewable energy efforts, which failed to clear the Legislature this spring. Crist in 2007 signed an executive order designed to push utilities toward generating 20 percent of their power through environmentally-friendly renewable energy by the year 2020. But as a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, Crist largely abandoned the drive.

Since breaking with the Florida GOP on April 30 to continue his Senate campaign as an independent, Crist may be ready to return to the renewable effort. The Legislature has divided, though, on how much utilities can charge customers to recover the cost of advancing renewable energy. As a statewide candidate, Crist is seen as unlikely to support rate increases.

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