For the previous edition of the magazine, Windpowernl spoke to several young professionals who are part of the East Meets West network to hear their experience in playing a role in the Dutch energy transition and the importance of knowledge sharing between different nationalities. While we introduced the network in an earlier article, we will now present interviews that were recorded with individual members, starting with Mónica Yus Santana from Spain.
Mónica is originally from Spain where she did her bachelor on energy engineering. She wanted to gain some international experience as she was interested to learn how the energy sector is set up in other
countries. When she learned about the Master Sustainable Energy Technology at TU Delft, she decided to move to the Netherlands. Other criteria also played a role in her decision. Beside the welcoming attitude towards international students and the availability of English language education, she was attracted to the many developments that are taking place in the Dutch energy sector.
The Dutch energy transition offers plenty opportunities for young professionals
With the Netherlands being a small, densely populated country with a relative high electricity demand, this brings interesting challenges along that require innovative solutions. This offers young professionals plenty of opportunities.
She currently works in offshore wind, for Dutch transmission system operator TenneT. In her role as project lead for the new innovative 2GW HVDC offshore platforms in the Dutch and German North Sea, she will be in charge of the execution of some of these projects in the Netherlands, together with contractors and other stakeholders.
Spain is very much active in renewable energy, with last year sourcing around half of the energy production from renewable energy. Less so in offshore wind but the country is taking steps into floating wind, more suitable for the seabed conditions there. But for the moment, Mónica is happy in the Netherlands where there are still many opportunities for her to grow professionally. And although not
participating in her home country directly, she feels like she is doing this indirectly, by contributing to the European energy transition.
One of the differences she can tell is the way students in the Netherlands broaden their horizons by collaborating in side projects, study associations and networking events, but also sometimes by taking a gap year to work for organisations. In Spanish culture it is perhaps less common for young people to participate while still studying. The Netherlands also offer graduates better starting positions. Networking provides the opportunity to learn from each other and help each other in future careers.
More awareness and role models needed
In general she thinks more awareness is needed, about the importance of young people contributing to the energy transition, and also among highschool children. To tackle the energy transition, all types of profiles are needed: gender, origin and background. And although she sees a rise in women starting engineering and technical studies, there is still work to be done in this area.
She was lucky to have had a grandfather as a role model and the support of her family to pursue this education path. Perhaps that is contributing to the low number of women in the energy transition: the lack of role models. She has one advise to young people considering technical studies: be brave and just do it.