Natel co-founder Gia Schneider confirmed as IHA Board Member

June 6, 2024

June 6, 2024, (ALAMEDA, Calif.) — Natel Energy and the International Hydropower Association (IHA) announce the confirmation of Gia Schneider, CEO and co-founder of Natel Energy, to its Board of Directors for the remainder of the 2023-25 term. Schneider's appointment comes as Herbie Johnson vacated his seat earlier this year upon joining the United States Department of Energy Water Power Technologies Office. Schneider will represent North America alongside Lynn St-Laurent, Strategic Communications Advisor at Hydro Quebec.

The IHA Board, comprising 18 global leaders in hydropower, is charged with steering the association's mission to advance sustainable hydropower worldwide. This diverse cohort of experts, elected from six geographical regions, commenced their mandate at the 2023 World Hydropower Congress in Bali, Indonesia.

Eddie Rich, CEO of the IHA, expressed a warm welcome to Schneider, stating, “We are delighted that the Board has invited Gia to join the Board as a representative of the US industry. She brings a wealth of skills and knowledge especially with investors and with environmental work.”

Schneider, a seasoned professional with over 20 years of experience in energy, will share her expertise  with the Board. As the co-founder and CEO of Natel Energy, she has spearheaded groundbreaking initiatives in hydropower technology, particularly in the development of high-performance FishSafe turbines aimed at promoting biodiversity and grid decarbonization. Schneider holds Chemical Engineering and Economics degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and also serves on the board of the Freshwater Trust as well as the World Wildlife Fund National Council.

Reflecting on her appointment, Schneider commented, "I am deeply honored to join the IHA Board. Having dedicated over two decades to combating climate change, I am committed to advancing hydropower as a reliable, renewable, and sustainable energy source. Hydropower is uniquely positioned as a critical resource for the energy transition given its reliability, flexibility, and dispatchability, and I look forward to collaborating with stakeholders to continually enhance the industry’s sustainability efforts.” 

At Natel Energy, Schneider and her team are committed to developing innovative solutions to address climate change and biodiversity loss. Their FishSafe turbine designs enable 98-100% safe passage for downstream migrating fish, coupling efficient power production with enhanced environmental performance. Natel collaborates with manufacturers worldwide to offer FishSafe turbine solutions that uphold the IHA’s Bali Statement on Sustainable Growth. 

The International Hydropower Association looks forward to Schneider's contributions in advancing sustainable hydropower's pivotal role in the global energy landscape.

About Natel Energy

Natel Energy is working to support healthy rivers, promote biodiversity and decarbonize the grid through hydropower that is safe for fish. Natel delivers high-performance FishSafe™ turbine and plant designs informed by industry-leading CFD modeling and analysis. In partnership with turbine manufacturers, Natel designs solutions to upgrade existing hydropower plants and develop new, sustainable projects worldwide, mitigating climate change while curbing biodiversity loss.  For more information, visit

About International Hydropower Association

The International Hydropower Association (IHA) is a non-profit organization working to advance sustainable hydropower by building and sharing knowledge about its role in renewable energy systems, freshwater management, and climate change solutions. Encompassing over 100 organizations operating in more than 120 countries, IHA's members include the world's leading hydropower developers, operators and manufacturers committed to the delivery of sustainable hydropower.

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