So, here's a crazy idea I had for getting speedlites that have remote controlled power on the cheap.
1) A used auto flash unit on ebay can be had for $10-20
2) Add a $3 standard volume potentiometer for full manual control
3) Control the potentiometers via either motorized pots or R/C airplane servos. I know that they make IR controlled pots for audio boards on speaker receivers for tv and stereo systems. I think an R/C servo could potentially drive a standard pot through the full range of motion. I see some remote and servo packs for around $25-$50 on ebay. One controller could potentially run 2-6 lights.
4) Trigger with remotes of your choice (In my case, Cactus V5 at ~$35 per transceiver)
So, in theory, this makes a studio of two lights cost under $100. You could even use shoe mount optical triggers in place of radio receivers for all your extra lights. You could possibly have 6 radio controlled lights for $200-$300.
So, I probably won't follow through on my theory, as radio controlling power is not a pressing need for me, but I wanted to present the theory to anyone who might be interested. It could sure make for an interesting, cheap home studio set up!