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.

A farm, harvested cornfield, and wind farm covered with snow in western Iowa near Schleswig, Iowa.

How did renewables fare during Winter Storm Elliott?

By: - January 28, 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 […]

LAKE CHARLES, LOUISIANA - AUGUST 27: Utility employees work on downed power lines after Hurricane Laura passed through the area on August 27, 2020 in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Laura made landfall in low-lying Louisiana with a top wind speed of 150 mph, putting it among the most powerful storms ever to strike the U.S. The expected catastrophic storm surge however wound up being 9-12 feet, far from the worst forecast of 15-20 feet, though still destructive. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Affordable, reliable and sustainable: report compares utility performance 

By: - January 23, 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 Illinois-based Citizens […]

Detroit residents were among those who experienced frigid temperatures over the holidays. The winter storm dropped temperatures to single digits in much of the country and led to controlled power outages to prevent grid failure. (Photo by Matthew Hatcher/Getty Images)

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 […]

petroleum refinery

Environmental enforcement has fallen off under Biden, report says

By: - December 29, 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 substation shooting, federal regulator orders review of security standards

By: - December 23, 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 on Dec. 15 ordered the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), which sets […]

To create fusion ignition, the National Ignition Facility’s laser energy is converted into X-rays inside the hohlraum, a cylindrical device, which then compress a fuel capsule until it implodes, creating a high temperature, high pressure plasma. (Photo courtesy of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory)

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 6, 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 21, 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 a 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 […]

A house is seen near the Gavin Power Plant on Sept. 11, 2019, in Cheshire, Ohio. (Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)

Coal plant operators shirking responsibilities on ash cleanup, report contends

By: - November 7, 2022

In the wake of major coal ash spills from power plant containment ponds in Tennessee and into the Dan River along the North Carolina-Virginia border, the federal Environmental Protection Agency in 2015 laid out the first federal rules for managing the ash, one of the nation’s largest waste streams, and the toxins it contains.   But […]

Shell opened a green-tech hydrogen production facility, REPHYNE, in Wesseling, Germany, in 2021 at the Shell Energy and Chemicals Park Rheinland to produce sustainable fuel for aircraft. (Andreas Rentz/Getty Images)

States are vying for money to start ‘hydrogen hubs.’ What are they?

By: - October 24, 2022

Across the country, states are inking agreements with neighbors or striking out on their own to pursue billions in federal funding to set up “hydrogen hubs,” clustered centers for production, storage and use of the gas that many see as a crucial piece of the puzzle for decarbonizing the U.S. economy. How broad a role […]

Smoke rises from a coal-fired power plant in Romeoville, Illinois. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Report says many utilities are slow-walking clean energy goals

By: - October 5, 2022

DENVER — A report released this week by the Sierra Club faults dozens of utilities that provide a major chunk of U.S. electric generation for failing to speed up their decarbonization efforts.  “For the sake of our communities and planet, we must do everything in our power to create a clean, renewable electric grid by […]