Mon. Sep 21st, 2020

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Watt It Takes: Building Climate-Resilient, Restorative Hydropower

3 min read

Gia Schneider and her brother Abe started Natel Energy based on a hydropower turbine their father designed. And after more than a decade of R&D, pilots, software development and a project for Apple, Natel is preparing for the next level of scale.

“Our objectives have actually not wavered. But they haven’t wavered because of rigid adherence to dogma, they have not wavered because we check in consistently about ‘is this the right problem to solve?’” says Schneider. 

Natel is commercializing a turbine for low-head hydro applications at old dams, irrigation canals and run-of-river projects. It’s designed to protect wildlife and drastically cut the ecological impact of hydropower. The original design came from Gia’s father, who started working on low-flow turbines back in the 1970s but it’s come a long way since then.

Gia also has a long history in energy. She worked at Constellation Energy and in Accenture’s utility practice. She started the energy and carbon trading desks at Credit Suisse. And in 2009, she launched Natel with her brother Abe.

In March, Natel closed an $11 million round led by Schneider Electric and Breakthrough Energy Ventures, just before the economy shut down.

In this episode, Powerhouse CEO Emily Kirsch talks with Gia about starting a company with her family, how to balance short-term tech development with long-term deployment goals, and how coronavirus could impact the next phase of growth.

Listen to all our past episodes of Watt It Takes here. This series is normally recorded in front of a live audience. But we’re now recording the interviews remotely. See future events here.

We’re hosting a live episode of The Energy Gang on June 9. Sign up for free here.

The Energy Gang is brought to you by Sungrow, the leading global supplier of inverter solutions for renewables. During these uncertain times, Sungrow is committed to protecting its employees and continuing to reliably serve its customers around the world. Sungrow has also leveraged its extensive network across the United States to distribute face masks to communities in need.

Gia Schneider and her brother Abe started Natel Energy based on a hydropower turbine their father designed. And after more than a decade of R&D, pilots, software development and a project for Apple, Natel is preparing for the next level of scale.

“Our objectives have actually not wavered. But they haven’t wavered because of rigid adherence to dogma, they have not wavered because we check in consistently about ‘is this the right problem to solve?’” says Schneider. 

Natel is commercializing a turbine for low-head hydro applications at old dams, irrigation canals and run-of-river projects. It’s designed to protect wildlife and drastically cut the ecological impact of hydropower. The original design came from Gia’s father, who started working on low-flow turbines back in the 1970s but it’s come a long way since then.

Gia also has a long history in energy. She worked at Constellation Energy and in Accenture’s utility practice. She started the energy and carbon trading desks at Credit Suisse. And in 2009, she launched Natel with her brother Abe.

In March, Natel closed an $11 million round led by Schneider Electric and Breakthrough Energy Ventures, just before the economy shut down.

In this episode, Powerhouse CEO Emily Kirsch talks with Gia about starting a company with her family, how to balance short-term tech development with long-term deployment goals, and how coronavirus could impact the next phase of growth.

Listen to all our past episodes of Watt It Takes here. This series is normally recorded in front of a live audience. But we’re now recording the interviews remotely. See future events here.

We’re hosting a live episode of The Energy Gang on June 9. Sign up for free here.

The Energy Gang is brought to you by Sungrow, the leading global supplier of inverter solutions for renewables. During these uncertain times, Sungrow is committed to protecting its employees and continuing to reliably serve its customers around the world. Sungrow has also leveraged its extensive network across the United States to distribute face masks to communities in need.

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