Natel Adds 80MW of Renewable Power to Louisiana's Red River

September 28, 2021

The company will install up to 90 of its Restoration Hydro Turbines at three non-powered dams

ALAMEDA, Calif. — Sept. 28, 2021 Natel Energy, a supplier of sustainable hydropower solutions, announced today it will develop, finance and construct three non-powered dam sites along Louisiana’s Red River in partnership with Nelson Energy, a Minneapolis-based firm that has successfully developed and licensed over $250 million of hydroelectric projects in the U.S. With Nelson Energy as an advisory partner, Natel will install between 60 and 90 of its flagship product, the Restoration Hydro Turbine (RHT), to retrofit three existing dams and add 80 MW of renewable power to the grid — enough energy to power 35,960 average US homes each year.

“Nelson Energy’s hydroelectric development goals have been to identify projects, establish their feasibility, obtain a FERC license and to then find a partner to carry the project forward through design, financing, construction and operation,” said Doug Spaulding, president of Nelson Energy. “Nelson has teamed with Natel based on their demonstrated experience and staffing to move projects from a licensed concept to an operational project.”

Natel will install up to 30 of its fish-safe RHTs, which enable cost-effective production of sustainable, distributed, reliable renewable energy while supporting the health and climate resilience of watershed ecosystems, at each of the Red River Lock & Dam sites 3, 4 and 5. Two of the projects will connect to points within the Midcontinent Independent System Operator Transmission System and one project with the Southwest Power Pool. The projects have been licensed by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and are expected to be built in 2024 and 2025.

“The Red River Projects mark a major addition to our Energy Platform development portfolio—an effort that Natel is undertaking to scale deployment of our Restoration Hydro Turbines and digital forecasting tools to advance the potential of modern, sustainable hydropower, enabling a climate-resilient future.” said Gia Schneider, CEO and co-founder of Natel. “We are excited to partner with Nelson Energy—one of the leading firms in advancing hydropower projects from concept to licensing.”

Nelson Energy laid a foundation by obtaining the FERC licenses and completing initial project diligence for Natel to expedite retrofitting the existing dams on a timeline that can bring clean, renewable energy to the grid more quickly, in an expansion of Natel’s Energy Platform development portfolio. The Red River project builds off of the success of Natel’s Monroe Hydro Project in Madras, Oregon, which demonstrates how Natel’s sustainable RHT technology can be integrated with existing water infrastructure. The RHT’s direct-drive, low-head, modular design is an ideal fit for the Red River Project’s three existing Army Corps of Engineers lock & dam sites with drop heights between 25-31 feet.

About Natel Energy

Natel Energy is a California-based company with a mission to mitigate climate change and build climate resilience by providing hardware and software solutions that enable a 100% renewable grid via a hydropower backbone. Climate change is water change, and hydropower is situated at the confluence of climate mitigation and adaptation. Hydropower is a crucial component of a low-carbon, renewable grid because of its reliability, flexibility and complementary generation characteristics to wind and solar. Hydropower projects are also integrally dependent upon and have substantial impact on watershed function. Natel’s solutions address cost, operations and environmental performance challenges at the heart of unlocking additional sustainable, reliable hydropower generation – both from the existing fleet and from new project development.

About Nelson Energy

Nelson Energy is a Minneapolis-based hydroelectric developer who has focused on the retrofitting of existing dams to incorporate hydroelectric power. Over the last 20 years Nelson has developed and licensed 138 MW of renewable energy at five existing dams owned by the Corps of Engineers. After obtaining a FERC license for the projects, Nelson joined with partners to bring the projects through design, construction and operation. The 10 MW Lower Saint Anthony Falls located in Minneapolis is owned and operated by Brookfield Renewable Energy and the 36 MW Red Rock project located near Pella Iowa is owned and operated by Missouri River Energy Services.

SOURCE Natel Energy

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