Alameda Point Environmental Report: Natel Energy gearing up to produce hydropower turbines at Alameda Point, October 30, 2014
An old aircraft hangar at Alameda Point will become the first production facility in the world for an innovative hydropower turbine. After two years of testing and design work, Natel Energy began outfitting the hangar this summer, which is just a few hundred yards from their headquarters in the former Control Tower for the Navy airfield. “By 2016 we expect to be producing 75 units a year,” said Chief Executive Officer Gia Schneider, “and reach 200 units a year by 2017.”
Formed by alumni of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Natel Energy set out to create a utility-scale hydropower system without the costs and environmental consequences of hydroelectric dams.
Natel Energy touts their turbine system, trademarked EcoSmartHydro™ Power, as an environmentally superior method of watershed development because it does not require flooding an entire ecosystem to drive an electric hydropower generator at a dam.
“Whereas conventional hydropower is characterized by a centralized approach to project planning and large environmental footprint, EcoSmartHydro™ Power is distributed, low-impact, yet still successful at the utility scale,” proclaims the company’s website. “Conventional hydropower plants are designed solely to maximize power output. EcoSmartHydro™ Power plants are designed to maximize power output while maintaining the health of watershed ecosystems.”