An energy plan that encourages construction of new nuclear power plants and provides tax breaks for renewable energy won approval yesterday in the Florida House.

Proposed by Gov. Jeb Bush, the plan removes legal and financial obstacles to nuclear power in an attempt to diversify the state's fuel sources, now dominated by natural gas. It also creates a tax holiday for the purchase of energy-saving appliances and provides tax credits and other incentives for solar power and other forms of alternative energy.

The plan allows utilities to add construction costs to customers' electric bills during construction of a nuclear plant, rather than following the usual procedure of waiting until the plant goes into service. Progress Energy and Florida Power & Light Co. have both announced plans to build nuclear plants somewhere in Florida. They say they need this change to persuade investors to put up the money for nuclear plants, which can cost $4 billion.

The bill also shortens the state approval process, making it more difficult for local governments to stop power plants.

Our guest for this segment was Holly Binns of the non-profit Florida Public Interest Research Group a consumer/environmental organization. She discussed the pros and cons of the energy plan.

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