Share Andrea Parker / Cory MaluskiFor years, the state’s main power grid operator has warned of high electricity prices and even power outages during the hot summer months.It’s rarely been as bad as feared. But experts say the latest startling forecast from the Electric Reliability Council of Texas looks to be more accurate, although they downplayed the potential impact to residential customers.ERCOT said on Thursday it expects to see record-breaking prices and demand for power this summer that could require it to take emergency measures to maintain supply — and force customers to curb power usage. It identified a variety of factors expected to put a strain on the grid on top of record-breaking demand, including delayed power supply projects and the closure of three major coal-fired power plants.That will result in “tight operating reserves” — numbers released Thursday show ERCOT expects to have have barely enough power to meet demand from June through September, which will result in sky-high power prices at certain times.“The ERCOT market has experienced a series of new peak demand records over the last few years as Texas’ economy continues to grow at record pace,” ERCOT President and CEO Bill Magness said in a statement. “We expect high peak demand will continue this summer.”A hot, dry summer — which is expected — and any unplanned outages of power plants would compound the problem, said Rice University associate professor Dan Cohan.“I sure hope we can dodge a bullet this time,” he said. “But the odds are stacked against us, and not many Texans see this bullet coming. This summer could be the wake-up call that drives major efforts for conservation and new build-outs of natural gas, solar, and storage to prepare for the next one.”But, he said, “Markets are tough to predict, especially since weather will play a big role, so we don’t know exactly what will happen.”Bill Peacock, vice president of research at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, a conservative think tank, said the market is working exactly like it’s supposed to — only that it’s been unfairly manipulated by renewable energy subsidies. Those have led to reliability problems — a notion many dispute — and the premature closure of coal plants, he said.It’s actually important that ERCOT and the state’s Public Utility Commission allow prices to go high this summer, Peacock said. That’s because it will spur investment in “peaking” power plants — those that run when there is high demand.“We have more than enough baseline to take care of us,” he said.Michael Webber, deputy director of the Energy Institute at the University of Texas at Austin, said ERCOT has been predicting some version of summertime doom and gloom for at least the past decade so it’s easy to shrug off this warning. While there is certainly cause for concern, he said a variety of factors will have to coalesce to result in extreme impacts like widespread power outages.And he said residential customers, who mostly pay fixed prices, aren’t likely to see a big change in their bills. Price spikes are more likely to affect large-scale commercial power purchasers and utility companies who sell power, he said. That would eventually trickle down to consumers, but it’s hard to say when and by how much. [Texas’ electric prices are also generally lower than other states to begin with, he said.]Webber said the risk of vulnerable populations losing power during a time when air conditioning is all but a requirement is always a concern and “we need to watch that.”“But I think generally we’ll be fine,” he said.Disclosure: Rice University and the University of Texas at Austin have been financial supporters of The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization that is funded in part by donations from members, foundations and corporate sponsors. Financial supporters play no role in the Tribune’s journalism. Find a complete list of them here.
With an estimated 10 per cent of people worldwide having chronic kidney disease (CKD), and about nine in 10 of them being unaware of their condition, health experts have called for making kidney health a priority in both developed and developing countries.Presenting a new global report – The Global Kidney Health Atlas – presented at this week’s World Congress of Nephrology in Mexico City being held from April 21-25, the researchers highlighted the huge gaps in kidney disease care and prevention, with many countries not prioritising kidney health. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfGlobally, estimated CKD prevalence varies from seven per cent in South Asia and eight per cent in Africa to as high as 11 per cent in North America and 12 per cent in Europe, The Middle East, and East Asia, and Latin America, according to the report.Among high-income countries, Saudi Arabia and Belgium have the highest estimated CKD prevalence (24 per cent), followed by Poland (18 per cent), Germany (17 per cent) and Britain and Singapore (16 per cent). Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveNorway and the Netherlands have the lowest estimates at five per cent, the report, which was also published in the journal JAMA, said. “Our Atlas shows that, across countries of all incomes, many governments are not making kidney disease a priority. This makes no sense, as the costs for treating people with end stage kidney disease are enormous, along with the devastating effect it has on patients and their families,” said Adeera Levin, President of the International Society of Nephrology which produced the Atlas. “A diagnosis of CKD does not mean that you will need dialysis or a transplant, but does signal that you are at risk for many health problems, including heart disease, strokes, and infections,” Levin, who is also a Professor of Medicine at the University of British Colombia in Canada, added. While CKD can affect anyone, people are at higher risk if they have any one or more of a number of risk factors: these include high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity smoking, being aged 60 years or over, having established cardiovascular disease, having a family history of kidney failure, and being from a high-risk ethnic group or having a history of acute kidney injury. Acute kidney injury can be caused by infections, dehydration or damage from medications or ingesting toxic drugs. “A general lack of awareness of CKD, among patients and family doctors alike, and a lack of symptoms in the early stages, means that kidney function is usually hugely reduced by the time symptoms arise,” said Professor David Johnson, co-chair of the Global Kidney Health Atlas, and Professor at the University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia.The kidneys are vital organs in our bodies, removing waste and excess water and controlling the acidity balance of our blood. Chronic kidney disease is the gradual loss of the kidneys’ abilities to perform these essential functions, and can be caused by high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, smoking and other risk factors.
Share Wednesday, July 26, 2017 European Union court says Canada passenger data deal breaches privacy Source: The Associated Press BRUSSELS — The European Union’s top court says in an advisory opinion that a deal between the EU and Canada on sharing airline passenger data breaches citizens’ privacy and cannot be concluded in its current form.Wednesday’s opinion by the European Union Court of Justice’s Advocate General Yves Bot was a setback to attempts to share airline data in the fight against extremism.It says that transferring passenger data from the EU to Canada and the possibility that the information could be shared with others “entail an interference with the fundamental right to respect for private life.”The EU and Canada signed the agreement in 2014, but the European Parliament subsequently referred it to the court for a ruling on whether it was compatible with EU privacy laws. Tags: Britain & Europe, Canada, European Union << Previous PostNext Post >>
Travelweek Group CG Journeys’ new Russia fam visits both Moscow & St. Petersburg Tags: FAM, Moscow, St. Petersburg Tuesday, June 18, 2019 TORONTO — CG Journeys has a new fam to Russia that includes all the top sights of Moscow and St. Petersburg.Departing Sept. 12-21 from either JFK or LAX, the 10-day ‘Russia’s Two Capitals and Golden Ring’ fam starts in Moscow with visits to the Red Square, the world-famous Kremlin and a city bus tour. From there, agents will journey to Sergiev Posad followed by a tour of the Holy Tirnity-St. Sergius Lavra.After transport to Pereslavl-Zalessky where they’ll enjoy a city tour and welcome dinner, agents will then visit Suzdal to explore the Suzdal Kremlin and Euthymius Monastery.A high-speed Sapsan train – business class – will then take agents to St. Petersburg, where they’ll embark on a panoramic city tour that includes Peter and Paul Fortress followed by lunch at Taleon hotel. After lunch, agents will visit the famous Faberge Museum and enjoy free time during which they can take in a performance at the Mariinsky Theatre or shop with a personal guide.More news: Flight Centre Travel Group takes full ownership of Quebec-based agencyOther highlights in St. Petersburg include the Peterhoff Palace, often referred to as the ‘Russian Versailles’, the famous Catherine Palace in Pushkin, the Hermitage and the Winter Palace. A farewell dinner at the Four Seasons closes the tour.The fam is priced at $1,850 (single) and includes: international and domestic flights with Aeroflot Airlines from JFK or LAX; two nights’ accommodation at the four-star Azimuth hotel Smolenskaya, Moscow; two nights’ accommodation at the four-star Azimuth hotel Pereslavl; four nights’ accommodation at the five-star Belmond Grand Europe hotel; all breakfasts and lunches and three dinners; transportation, tours, museum and attractions entry and English-speaking guide as per program; Business class high-speed train ticket from Moscow to St. Petersburg; Moscow walking city tour; and city tours of Sergiev Posad, Pereslavl, Suzdal and St. Petersburg.For more information call 1-800-668-8401 or visit cgjourneys.com. Share Posted by << Previous PostNext Post >>