Archives by: Robert Zullo

Robert Zullo

About the author

Robert Zullo is a national energy reporter for States Newsroom 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.

Robert Zullo's articles and posts

Environment News Top Story

Offshore wind will need major investments in transmission, supply chain, reports say

Achieving the aggressive offshore wind power goals of the federal government and individual states will require billions of dollars in spending on transmission infrastructure, “unprecedented” cooperation between grid operators and federal and state agencies, and would be aided by major buildout of a domestic supply chain, per a pair of reports released this week. Coastal states across the country, from North Carolina to California to Louisiana to Maine, are pushing for offshore wind projects. But authors of the reports see potential bottlenecks looming, both in the supply chain to build and install turbines as well as in the ability to bring the electricity ashore.

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News Top Story

After substation shooting, federal regulator orders review of security standards

Recent North Carolina attack helps spur new national effort Less than two weeks after gunfire damaged two Duke Energy substations in Moore County, knocking out power to about 45,000 people, federal regulators ordered a review of security standards at electric transmission facilities and control centers. Last Thursday, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission ordered the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC),...

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Environment News Top Story

Scientists announce a fusion breakthrough with big implications for clean energy

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 energy from a nuclear fusion reaction than was needed to produce it.

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Environment News Top Story

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

Advocates say the nation needs a coherent, cohesive and transparent electric system, but utility companies resist added oversight 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.

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Environment Top Story

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

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. ...
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Environment News Top Story

Coal plant operators shirking responsibilities on ash cleanup, report contends

Duke Energy facility in NC cited as among the worst contamination sites, but company pushes back In the wake of major coal ash spills from power plant containment ponds in Tennessee and into the Dan River along the North Carolina and 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.

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Environment Top Story

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

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 it should play, however, is a matter of debate.

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Environment News Top Story

For offshore wind aspirations to become reality, transmission hurdles must be cleared

President Joe Biden’s administration laid out ambitious additional goals last month to boost offshore wind power generation, one of the American renewable energy industry’s emerging wide open frontiers. The federal announcements come as coastal states across the country are increasingly setting offshore wind energy targets, seeking to capture not just clean energy but the potentially big economic benefits of their ports serving as hubs for the vessels, blade manufacturing, cables and other infrastructure needed to get turbines more than 850 feet tall installed miles out at sea. 

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Environment News Top Story

Amid a massive American clean energy shift, grid operators play catch-up 

For the better part of the past century, the American electric power system evolved around large, mostly fossil fuel power plants delivering electricity to residences, businesses and industry through a network of transmission and distribution wires that collectively came to be called the electric grid. But as the threat of climate change driven by carbon pollution becomes more dire and as technological advances make wind, solar and battery storage ever cheaper options for powering homes and business, states, corporations and voters are increasingly pushing to aggressively decarbonize the grid.

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Progressive Voices Top Story

In a nation beset by massacres, there’s only one side to be on

I have nothing particularly new, trenchant or poignant to say on our great, intractable gun debate, the latest slew of firearm massacres or our bigoted president’s dangerous rhetoric. My past thoughts on the numbing frequency of mass shootings and guns are here, here and here.

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