Author

Robert Zullo

Robert Zullo

Robert spent 13 years as a reporter and editor at weekly and daily newspapers and was previously editor of the Virginia Mercury. He was a staff writer and managing editor at Worrall Community Newspapers in Union, N.J., before spending five years in south Louisiana covering hurricanes, oil spills and Good Friday crawfish boils as a reporter and city editor for the The Courier and the Daily Comet newspapers in Houma and Thibodaux. He covered Richmond city hall for the Richmond Times-Dispatch from 2012 to 2013 and worked as a general assignment and city hall reporter for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette from 2013 to 2016. He returned to Richmond in 2016 to cover energy, environment and transportation for the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Contact him at [email protected]

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

By: - January 3, 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 […]

After 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 last Thursday 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 […]

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

By: - December 5, 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 8, 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 […]

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

By: - October 31, 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 […]

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

By: - October 5, 2022

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 […]

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

By: - September 27, 2022

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 […]

COMMENTARY

Leaving Virginia. Again.

By: - July 25, 2022

On a sticky Sunday afternoon in August 1997, my dad and I parked along Jamestown Road in Williamsburg and got out for a brief, self-guided tour of William and Mary’s old campus. A dreamy, humid haze hung over the deserted place, with the Sunken Gardens and sylvan brick paths lush and late-summer green.  I said […]

Virginia GOP congressmen vote against resolution on Finland, Sweden and NATO

By: - July 19, 2022

Three Virginia congressmen were among a relative handful of House Republicans who voted against a resolution expressing support for Finland and Sweden joining the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. U.S. Reps. Ben Cline, R-Botetourt, Bob Good, R-Campbell, and Morgan Griffith, R-Salem, joined 15 other GOP members to oppose the resolution, which passed the House Monday with […]

Beagle breeding facility shutting down over violations will be allowed to sell 500 dogs

By: and - June 17, 2022

A federal judge will allow Envigo — which is shutting down a controversial dog-breeding facility in Cumberland County under pressure from federal regulators because of a string of animal welfare violations— to sell more than 500 dogs to labs over the objections of the U.S. Department of Justice. Federal attorneys seeking an injunction to enforce […]

COMMENTARY

The shadow Jan. 6 still casts: ‘James Madison’s ultimate nightmare’

By: - January 12, 2022

It was not unlike the formulaic false ending in a horror movie. You could have been forgiven for thinking the worst was over when the mob of MAGAns had been repulsed from the halls of the U.S. Capitol and Congress resumed its duty of certifying the presidential election returns last year. But the spectacle of […]