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.

Report faults EPA for not enforcing limits on toxic benzene emissions at oil refineries

By: - September 11, 2023

The federal Environmental Protection Agency must do a better job ensuring that oil refineries that exceed emissions limits for benzene, a toxic, carcinogenic pollutant, cut those concentrations, the agency’s inspector general found. “Thirteen of the 18 refineries we reviewed had benzene concentrations above the action level in 20 or more weeks after the initial exceedance,” […]

Federal, state regulators prod utilities to consider technology for grid upgrade

By: - August 28, 2023

Of the many challenges confronting the nation’s aging, straining electric grid, the need for a lot of new transmission capacity is among the most pressing, experts and policymakers say. Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Energy said the nation will need thousands of miles of new lines to better link regions to handle extreme […]

Winter is coming and the U.S. grid remains vulnerable to power plant failures

By: - August 2, 2023

From winter storms to sweltering summer heat, there’s a consensus among experts that increasing extreme weather, a shifting electric generation mix, delays in getting new power generation projects connected and the difficulties in getting new transmission lines and other infrastructure built all pose an increasing risk to the grid. At U.S. Senate committee hearings as well as Federal […]

Federal regulators approve new rules to ease power connection backlogs

By: - July 29, 2023

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Thursday finalized long-awaited new rules intended to reform how power generation projects get connected to the electric grid, seen as a major step in smoothing the path for thousands of mostly renewable power projects currently waiting to plug in. “This rule will ensure that our country’s vast generation resources […]

Statehouses debate who should build EV charging networks

By: - June 20, 2023

Though they only make up a fraction of cars and trucks on the road now, many projections — from Wall Street firms, trade groups and automakers themselves — predict an imminent surge in electric vehicles over the next decade. S&P Global estimates that the nearly 2 million electric vehicles on U.S. roads today will grow to more than 28 million […]

Decarbonization ambitions ignite debate over mining, permitting

By: - June 12, 2023

The decarbonized, electrified future envisioned by the Biden administration, state governments, automakers, utility companies and corporate sustainability goals depends to a huge degree on minerals and metals. Lots more lithium will be needed for car and truck batteries, as well as the big banks of batteries that are increasingly popping onto the electric grid to balance the […]

Sluggish pace of interconnection might jeopardize states’ renewable goals, report says 

By: - May 30, 2023

Despite reforms meant to speed up the queue, delays in getting mostly new solar, wind and storage projects through the largest American grid operator’s interconnection process could make it tough for some states to hit their renewable energy goals, per a report released Thursday by an environmental group.  The report by the Natural Resources Defense […]

With summer coming fast, regulator issues electric reliability warning

By: - May 22, 2023

As much as two thirds of North America could face shortages of electricity this summer in the event of severe and protracted heat, according to the regulator in charge of setting and enforcing standards for the electric grid. “Increased, rapid deployment of wind, solar and batteries have made a positive impact,” said Mark Olson, manager […]

EPA again proposes power plant carbon rules

By: - May 21, 2023

The Obama administration’s 2015 Clean Power Plan — intended to cut carbon emissions from power plants — was struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court. The Trump administration’s much-criticized replacement, the Affordable Clean Energy rule, derided as a “tortured series of misreadings” of the U.S. Clean Air Act, was also tossed by a federal court. But the Biden […]

Inside the battle over who gets to build the grid of the future

By: - April 26, 2023

The U.S. Department of Energy issued a draft report in February that found a “pressing need” for new electric transmission infrastructure across the country to improve reliability, connect a rapidly growing number of solar, wind and battery storage projects, supply increasing electric demand and alleviate scattered pockets of consistently high prices across the country. To […]

After shootings, regulator doesn’t recommend additional substation security standards

By: - April 21, 2023

The organization in charge of setting and enforcing reliability standards for the U.S. electric grid isn’t recommending new physical security requirements for thousands of electric substations following a rash of shooting attacks that have knocked out power in parts of several states. Jim Robb, CEO of the North American Electric Reliability Corp., told the Federal […]

EPA sued over failure to set, update pollution limits 

By: - April 13, 2023

More than a dozen environmental groups are suing the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over its failure to set water pollution limits for some industrial contaminants as well as its reluctance to update decades-old standards for others, arguing that the agency’s inaction amounts to a “free pass to pollute” for hundreds of chemical and fertilizer […]