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

Utilities plan onsite gas storage to improve reliability; critics warn of costs, safety concerns

By: - January 23, 2024

As the U.S. electric power system has become more reliant on natural gas plants, it’s also become more vulnerable to gas system failures. During Winter Storm Elliott in 2022, about 18% of the anticipated power supply in the portion of the grid that serves the entire eastern half of the United States, called the Eastern […]

AES Indiana’s Petersburg Generating Station in Petersburg, Ind., has been burning coal since the 1960s but will shutter all of its coal firing units over the next few years. The plant is converting some generating units to natural gas and will also host an 800 megawatt-hour battery storage system expected to come online late next year. (Robert Zullo/States Newsroom)

New life for old coal: Minelands and power plants are hot renewable development spots 

By: - November 28, 2023

PETERSBURG, Ind. — AES Indiana’s Petersburg Generating Station, which towers over the White River here in southwest Indiana, has been burning coal to generate electricity since the late 1960s. That era, though, will come to an end soon. Two of the power plant’s four coal-burning units have already retired and the last is planning to […]

New rules proposed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency earlier this year in its latest attempt to regulate the carbon from power plants have drawn fire from some congressional Republicans, grid operators and other regulators. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Reliability v. sustainability: Inside the debate over the EPA’s proposed carbon rules

By: - November 21, 2023

Electric reliability has been a hot topic lately — from congressional hearings to regulatory agencies and at the regional transmission organizations that run the electric grid in much of the country. The American electric grid is undergoing a major change, prodded by state and federal decarbonization policies, market forces pushing cheaper and cleaner forms of […]

A crude oil refinery

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

By: - September 12, 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 118 refineries we reviewed had benzene concentrations above the action level in 20 or more weeks after the initial exceedance,” […]

Federal regulators approve new rules to ease power connection backlogs

By: - July 28, 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 […]

Electric car charging station

Statehouses debate who should build EV charging networks

By: - June 21, 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 […]

Decarbonization ambitions ignite debate over mining, permitting

By: - June 1, 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 […]

Coal fired power plant

EPA again proposes power plant carbon rules

By: - May 15, 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. […]

 EPA sued over failure to set, update pollution limits 

By: - April 14, 2023

More than a dozen environmental groups are suing the federal Environmental Protection Agency 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 plants, […]

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission last week called for a review of the physical security of the utility’s power systems. The order comes after attacks on substations in North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon and Washington state. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

After substation shooting, federal regulator orders review of security standards

By: - January 3, 2023

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 has ordered the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), which sets and enforces […]

Executives at the Shell Chemical petroleum refinery in Norco, Louisiana, agreed to install $10 million in pollution monitoring and control equipment in 2018 to settle allegations it was violating the Clean Air Act. The Biden Administration was expected to increase EPA enforcement but that hasn’t happened says a national environmental group. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Environmental enforcement has fallen off under Biden, report says

By: - January 2, 2023

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 at the end of December 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 […]

Detroit snowstorm

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

By: - January 1, 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 […]