1. What’s your name and where have you been living so far?
I’m Ynke Feenstra. I’m currently living in Haarlem, a city between Amsterdam and the sea. Previously I’ve been living in other places in the Netherlands and Belgium.
2. Where do you currently work?
I have my own company, called FYnergy. I’m specialised in the ‘human-side’ of energy: creating social acceptance for energy projects and changing energy related behaviour. I work for private and public organisations and help them to develop strategies and implement projects on these fields.
And of course, I’m partner of Global Energy Profs and currently responsible for the content (blogs and these OnTheJob interviews) of the website.
3. What are you working on this and next week?
I’m always working on multiple projects at the same time. Together with a graphic designer I’ve just developed a communication strategy for an energy efficiency campaign in my hometown Haarlem led by the regional grid operator. It’s called Watt voor Watt (Watt for Watt) and expresses that energy saving in households is fun and easy if you do it step by step.
In between I have been writing a blog on public engagement in carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects for the Global CCS Institute in Canberra, meeting up with the Global Energy Profs team, contacting people to contribute to this website, updating the Global Energy Profs’ Facebook page, doing my administration, meeting other entrepreneurs at networking events and writing proposals for potential clients.
4. What is the biggest challenge in your job or working field?
Apart from keeping a balance in my agenda (being self-employed for me implies a varying workload), the biggest challenge in my working field is to create awareness among energy project developers to engage the community, societal groups and other stakeholders in their project. Often project developers are focussing too much on the technical, economic and regulatory issues. They forget that their project also needs to be accepted by stakeholders to be successful. There are unfortunately many examples of delayed or cancelled projects due to opposition from all kinds of stakeholders.
5. What do you like most of working in the energy field?
Energy for me is the most interesting topic: it is everywhere, dynamic and multidisciplinary. Energy is essential for society on local, national and global level. It’s an area where policy makers, researchers, engineers, entrepreneurs, consultants and citizens always have to cooperate. And it’s dynamic and continuously searching for a balance between fossil and renewable resources, energy efficiency, existing technologies and numerous innovations.
6. With whom (in or outside the energy field) would you like to have dinner?
Haarlem has a high density of great restaurants. So, I would like to invite the CEO of the Dutch gas trading company GasTerra, Mr Lankhorst for dinner here. He once said in an interview that “the public energy debate is ill-informed and superficial.” I agree with him, and would like to hear his vision on how to overcome this.
7. The website www.globalenergyprofs.com is a platform for energy professionals. What do you expect from such a platform?
The energy sector is dealing with many challenges on short and longer term. I believe we can only solve these when people within the sector increase and improve cooperation. This starts with getting to know each other better. I think that the website can play an important role in this.