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Natel has released its seventh update video, highlighting the commissioning of the Monroe Hydro Project, and the testing of its SLH100 hydroEngine™.


01 Product Development

Monroe Hydro Project SLH100 hydroEngine™ grid synchronization successful 

Following plant interconnection, in early July, the Monroe Hydro Project SLH100 unit was synchronized to the grid for the first time, and began generating electricity.
Monroe Hydro Project SLH100 unit high power testing
Once the grid synchronization tests were complete, the SLH100 could be safely tested at larger flow rates. These larger flows produce more power and fully stress the mechanical components. Testing at higher flows also allows the plant controller to be tested in all operational conditions.

Monroe Hydro Project SLH100 unit control system readied for fully autonomous operation

After many hours of power generation, the SLH100 control system was updated with several improvements which incorporated differences between the modeled and observed behavior of the plant and canal. These changes included updates to the speed and power controllers which optimize machine startup and canal level.

02 Project Focus

Monroe Hydro Project grid rejection tests successful 
In the event of a grid outage, the plant can no longer push power onto the grid, and the plant must quickly be shut down. During the successful grid rejection tests, the team cut power to the plant, and allowed the control system to bring the machine to a complete stop. The disk brake (shown here) works in concert with the guide vanes (or wicket gates) to slow the hydroEngine™ safely and quickly to a complete stop. The entire sequence is autonomously controlled and must maintain safe operations in both the powerhouse and the canal.
Monroe Hydro Project power generation ramp up
After ensuring all safety measures were in place, the team tested the operation of the plant at increasing flows until maximum plant flow was reached. Here the bypass gate is shown empty, as the SLH100 consumes the entire canal flow.

Preparation for final commissioning tests 

As improvements are made to the plant control system, the SLH100 is run continuously for longer periods, up to 10 hours at a time. These longer duration operation sessions provide experience for passing the final commissioning tests and transitioning the plant to commercial, autonomous operation.

03 Business Development

New Team Member: Meghan Harwood

Meghan is a commercial associate at Natel, interested in business and market development. She supports the analytical, research, and operational work of the business development team. Meghan received a BA in Government and International Studies from Colby College.

04 Media and Outreach

Natel CEO Gia Schneider and Monroe Hydro Project featured in Irrigation Leader Magazine

The June issue of Irrigation Leader Magazine featured an interview with Natel CEO Gia Schneider. Mike Britton, North Unit Irrigation District General Manager, was also interviewed about the Monroe Hydro Project.


Natel mentioned in Tech Crunch article on water business in California

Natel Energy was recently featured in a Tech Crunch article discussing California’s drought, the growing importance of water, and the response of venture capital. Natel’s work on energy production was mentioned alongside other companies in the fields of water treatment, reuse, and analytics.


Natel exhibited at the National Hydrovision Conference in Portland, OR.

Natel also exhibited and presented at the small but influential National Water Resources Association conference in Monterey, CA.
Upcoming Conferences
We will be at the following upcoming conferences. Please let us know if you are interested in meeting with us at any of them.

NHA Northeast Regional and NWRA combined conference, Eugene, OR. Natel will attend the conference on October 15. 

Natel's CEO Gia Schneider will be at the Innovation Pavilion WEFTEC Conference in Chicago from September 27 to 30.

Natel will exhibit at the 2015 American Energy and Manufacturing Competitiveness Summit in Washington DC from September 15 to 16.

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