Author Archive: Tom Sanzillo

Director of Finance Tom Sanzillo has 30 years of experience in public and private finance, including as a first deputy comptroller of New York State, where he held oversight over a $156 billion pension fund and $200 billion in municipal bond programs. 


Why Utah’s Coal Port Investment in Oakland Is So Suspect

Why Utah’s Coal Port Investment in Oakland Is So Suspect

A Backdoor Tax Increase Absent Normal Oversight 


This week we signed onto a letter asking for a federal review of the odd transaction that diverts $53 million in Utah taxpayer dollars to a port expansion 730 miles away in California. It’s a letter well worth expounding on. Here goes. While environmentalists are opposed to the project for its climate-change and pollution effects, […]

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Coal Industry on the Brink in Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah

Coal Industry on the Brink in Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah

Where Is the Leadership to Help Families, Communities, and Economies Manage the Change?

It is past time for governors and legislators in the Rocky Mountain West to seriously plan for what they are going to do to help mining communities and families hit hard by the coal industry’s collapse. These leaders—in the six states from the Canadian border to Mexico—have been silent for too long. The coal-mining sector […]

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Investment Bank Blindness to Risk in Fossil-Fuel Sector

Institutions That Fail to Heed Market Warnings Are Likely to End Up With Far Worse Than Bad Grades From the Rainforest Action Network

When did the finance industry abandon basic long-term business and investment principles? And why does an environmental organization have to play the role of canary in the coal mine? A new report by Rainforest Action Network shows just how deep the banking sector is buried in fossil fuel investments with shrinking returns. The RAN research […]

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The Statistics Speak: U.S. Coal Rebound, if It Happens, Will Most Likely Be Muted

Industry Production Down, Market Out of Balance as Natural Gas Prices Remain Low

The most recent monthly electricity-sector compilation from the Energy Information Administration shows coal-fired generation accounting for just 23.7 percent of generation in the U.S., which means that number averaged 29 percent of the first quarter. Last year coal held 33 decade of the market,a decade ago 48.5 percent. In March (see the post above) natural […]

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Emblematic of a Sector in Distress, Homer City Power Station in West Pennsylvania Is on the Ropes

Emblematic of a Sector in Distress, Homer City Power Station in West Pennsylvania Is on the Ropes

The Hour Is Late for This Generator and for the Mines That Supply It; More Evidence that U.S. Merchant Coal Plants Are No Longer Viable

In late 2012, Edison International’s 1,884-megawatt Homer City Generating Station in western Pennsylvania went bankrupt. The subsequent workout allowed General Electric Capital Corp, the major bondholder in the plant, to take control. Now, on the heels of a weak end-of-year 2015 financial report, GE has indicated that the plant is in default on its debt […]

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What Happened When a Power Plant Closed in Upstate New York? Electricity Prices Stayed Low and Outside Coal-Fired Power Wasn’t Required

What Happened When a Power Plant Closed in Upstate New York? Electricity Prices Stayed Low and Outside Coal-Fired Power Wasn’t Required

The Grid Is Unaffected by the Retirement of Huntley Power Station


Our 2014 report on the failing financial health of the Huntley Generation Station in Tonawanda, N.Y., highlighted the fact that regional grid operators were relying less and less on the plant for electricity. Huntley’s capacity factor—the ratio of how much power it produced versus how much it was capable of producing—had been declining for five […]

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A Top Industry Advisor, Long Singing the Coal-Export Anthem, Follows a New Tune

A Top Industry Advisor, Long Singing the Coal-Export Anthem, Follows a New Tune

Firm Continues to Distance Itself From Its Previous Assessments

Wood Mackenzie in the lead-up to the collapse in the coal industry was the principal major business consultancy driving bullishness on the global coal trade. Granted, Wood Mackenzie is a firm with a great brand name—much of it deserved. Its coal-export analysis in recent years is not among the sagas that have earned it its strong reputation, […]

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Obstacles to Building Renewable Power in Kosovo Are Political, Not Technical

The Government of Kosovo, World Bank and Obama Administration Are Using Misleading Information to Attack Renewable Energy Potential; New Projects are Behind Schedule

Proponents of building a new coal-fired power plant in Kosovo have argued that the plant is needed because Kosovo has very limited ability to support a significant build out of wind and solar power resources. But a closer look at the situation shows that the obstacles to renewable energy development in Kosovo are more political […]

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The Federal Government’s Coal-Leasing Program Is Broken: Here’s How to Fix It

The Federal Government’s Coal-Leasing Program Is Broken: Here’s How to Fix It

Appoint a Price-Setting Commission; Ban Exports; Cancel Some Leases; Eliminate Self-Bonding; Mandate Set-Asides for Mine Clean-up and Miner Pensions; Require Twice-a-Year Audits; Assume Smaller Markets

It’s time for the U.S. to modernize how it manages its publicly owned coal reserves. That’s the essence of comments we’ve filed today with the Department of the Interior as it begins a review of its federal coal-leasing program in the Powder River Basin, a program that has been mismanaged for years at taxpayer expense […]

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Renewables Would Be a Far Cheaper Way to Power Kosovo Than What the World Bank Wants to Do

Renewables Would Be a Far Cheaper Way to Power Kosovo Than What the World Bank Wants to Do

Research Shows Little Justification for a New Coal-Fired Project

A preponderance of evidence supports our view that renewable energy would be cheaper and cleaner than the proposed coal-fired New Kosovo Power Plant. Research we’ve looked at (including by Lazard, Agora Energiewinde, and the International Renewable Energy Agency) covers energy markets in well over 20 nations and makes clear that the cost of electricity generated […]

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