Author

Robert Zullo

Robert Zullo

Robert Zullo is a national energy reporter based in southern Illinois focusing on renewable power and the electric grid. Robert joined States Newsroom in 2018 as the founding editor of the Virginia Mercury. Before that, he spent 13 years as a reporter and editor at newspapers in Virginia, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Louisiana. He has a bachelor's degree from the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Va. He grew up in Miami, Fla., and central New Jersey.

After a series of winter storms, regulators approve new standards for power plants

By: - February 23, 2023

Two years after Winter Storm Uri, which caused a massive power failure in Texas that caused more than 200 deaths, and just two months after another storm, Elliott, forced blackouts in parts of the South, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has approved new extreme cold reliability standards for power plants.  However, the vote last week […]

Federal-state task force grapples with grid protection

By: - February 20, 2023

A federal task force wrestled with the costs and benefits of better shielding the nation’s tens of thousands of electric substations from a growing number of attacks, like a neo-Nazi plot the FBI says it foiled earlier this month in Maryland, another that knocked out power to thousands in North Carolina in December and more […]

Across the country, a big backlash to new renewables is mounting

By: - February 15, 2023

BUCYRUS, Ohio — In four terms as a county elected official in northern Ohio, it was the most contentious issue Doug Weisenauer had ever seen. The state legislature had newly empowered county governments to drastically restrict wind and solar power development, a process formerly overseen by the Ohio Power Siting Board, and the meetings of […]

How did renewables fare during Winter Storm Elliott?

By: - January 30, 2023

A day after Christmas, as parts of the country were still digging out from Winter Storm Elliott, the Wall Street Journal’s editorial page, undeterred by the absence of much concrete data, already knew where to cast the blame for rolling blackouts implemented in parts of the South to keep the grid from collapsing.  “While there […]

Affordable, reliable and sustainable: report compares utility performance

By: - January 20, 2023

A nationwide comparison of electric utility performance by an Illinois consumer advocacy group found that customers in states that are heavily reliant on fuel oil and natural gas — as in the Northeast and South — tend to pay more than those with larger amounts of carbon-free generation, among other findings.  The report by the […]

As another winter storm strains the electric grid, it’s time to fix transmission, experts say

By: - January 2, 2023

The deadly winter storm, christened Elliott by the Weather Channel, that tore through much of the United States over the Christmas weekend placed a huge strain on the American electric grid, pushing it past the breaking point in some places. Frigid temperatures, in some places setting records, drove a surge in electric demand while also […]

Refinery

Environmental enforcement has fallen off under Biden, report says

By: - December 22, 2022

Federal environmental enforcement, as measured by Environmental Protection Agency civil cases closed against polluters, hit a two-decade low in 2022, per a report released last week by a national environmental group that blames budget cuts, staff shortages and the U.S. Senate’s failure to confirm key leaders. The Environmental Integrity Project said the 72 civil enforcement […]

After electrical substation shooting, federal regulator orders review of security standards

By: - December 21, 2022

Less than two weeks after gunfire damaged two Duke Energy substations in Moore County, N.C., knocking out power to about 45,000 people, federal regulators ordered a review of security standards at electric transmission facilities and control centers. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission recently ordered the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) — which sets and […]

Scientists announce a fusion breakthrough with big implications for clean energy

By: - December 13, 2022

Scientists at a U.S. national laboratory announced Tuesday that they achieved fusion ignition, a breakthrough decades in the making that could have major implications for clean energy.  Researchers at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory near San Francisco said that on Dec. 5, for the first time anywhere in the world, they managed to produce more […]

Reliability watchdog warns of potential electric shortfalls this winter

By: - December 8, 2022

The nonprofit regulator charged with helping ensure the reliability of the North American electric grid is warning of potential electric supply shortfalls during severe weather this winter in several regions of the country. Earlier this month, the North American Electric Reliability Corporation, which sets and enforces reliability standards for the bulk power system in the […]

As utilities spend billions on transmission, support builds for independent monitoring

By: - November 22, 2022

An aging electric grid, fossil fuel power plant retirements and a massive renewable electricity buildout are all contributing to a boom in transmission and distribution wire projects by electric utilities across the country. In 2020, investor-owned electric utilities spent $25 billion on transmission, up from $23.7 billion in 2019, figures that the Edison Electric Institute, […]

Amid major federal investment in electric cars, it’s time for states to step up, advocates say

By: - November 7, 2022

For years, electric vehicles posed something of a chicken-and-egg problem.  Mass adoption, seen as critical to cutting the largest single source of U.S. carbon emissions, couldn’t happen until the infrastructure to allow drivers to recharge wherever they were heading was in place. And those charging stations weren’t coming until more drivers switched to plug-in electric […]