Natel Energy in Alameda, Calif., is dedicated to advancing hydropower technology to make it more environmentally friendly and cost-effective, as well as flexible enough to be a go-to source of power for operators in rivers of all sizes throughout the U.S. and around the world. With a name appropriately coined from the phrase “natural electric,” Natel is focused on enabling a distributed or decentralized hydropower model featuring systems of smaller projects-– that maintain river connectivity –– networked together as “virtual power plants” or VPPs, as opposed to the current approach of large centralized dams, which can be damaging to wildlife and the adjacent ecosystem.
Founded by Gia Schneider and Abe Schneider, siblings who gained a deep appreciation for the power of rivers and the beauty of their ecosystems during family camping and fishing trips as children, Natel is advancing its vision of “Restoration Hydro,” combining low environmental impact with high economic value. This can be a boon to organizations looking to decarbonize their operations further and transition to a low- or zero-carbon grid.
Abe talks fish-safe turbines and the potential for distributed hydropower with Synapse's Head of Climate Tech Business, Dylan Garrett.