EIRES 'Heroes like you'

Energy Heroes - Minke Goes

The theme of TU/e’s lustrum year, which marks the university’s 65th anniversary, is ‘Heroes like you.’  In keeping with this theme, EIRES publishes a series of interviews throughout the year with the motto ‘Energy Heroes.’ TU/e students, alumni and employees with proven track records in the field of energy research and innovation are given the floor to share their passion for energy research and innovation.

Minke Goes - ALUMNA

Department of Mechnical Engineering


‘I am losing my patience. We should not be afraid to start acting now.’  TU/e alumna Minke Goes is a textbook example of the current-day socially engaged engineer. When asked about her views on the energy transition, she treats her audience to a passionate plea on taking responsibility and playing your part.



Don’t just talk, start acting

After obtaining her Bachelor degree in Science, Business and Innovation at VU University, Minke Goes pursued her Master’s degree in Sustainable Energy Technology at TU/e, where she graduated in 2015. ‘During my Bachelor, which comprised a multidisciplinary course program, I got inspired by innovations in the Energy Technology sector. Since I wanted to understand how the energy system is working, I decided to take up a Master’s program that went more in-depth into the technologies involved,’ Goes explains her choice for Eindhoven’s Sustainable Energy Technology program.

Providing room for debate
During her college days, she co-founded Team Energy, which until this day provides students with the knowledge, network and means to engage in the energy transition. ‘Since there is no absolute truth when it comes to the path nor the end point of the energy transition, I strongly felt the need to gain different perspectives on the challenges at hand and on possible solutions. At that time, in Eindhoven, there was no real possibility to discuss these topics in a multidisciplinary setting. So, together with some other students, we decided to start up Team Energy and organize energy-related events.’ The energy transition is a problem best solved by bringing together people from different backgrounds, Goes is convinced. ‘In my experience, the best ideas do not emerge in a classroom or office setting, but rather during more informal gatherings, like in a café.’ Hence, the Energy Café was born.

Changing attitudes
After her graduation, pursuing a career in the energy sector was a no brainer for her. She started as a consultant at Ecofys, which after several mergers eventually became Guidehouse. ‘During my time as a consultant, I witnessed a significant change of attitude,’ she recollects. ‘Where at first, most of my assignments involved developing a vision on a sustainable energy system in 2050, during later years the questions became focused on the next steps that organizations should take.’ Also, the complexity of the challenges has increased, Goes experiences. ‘It is easy to talk about the far future. Once we start talking about next steps, the energy transition begins to impact all of us. As a result, I have noticed that people are getting afraid of making any decisions, knowing we might regret them later. Though this journey is full of unexpected twists and turns, the one certainty we have is that if we do not act now, we will be too late. As far as I am concerned, we shouldn’t linger in the talking phase, exploring all theoretically possible routes. Everyone should start making changes where they can, to make sure we will end up where we want to be in, say, 2050. And perhaps, in hindsight, knowing everything, you might have made other choices, but you need to act to learn.’

Introducing smart heating
In her current job as Manager New Business for the business unit focusing on deep green collective heat systems at Essent, she brings this pragmatic vision into practice. ‘The aim is to establish what we call a smart district heating network, or a 5th generation heat network. The innovative concept is based on three principles: reduce the need for thermal energy by energy efficiency programs; balance heat and cold demand within and between buildings to further reduce the need for additional energy; and use sustainable energy to generate heat or cold where and when needed. One additional thing I really like about it is the ability to start small and modularly grow the system, which reduces the risks, hence the talking part, significantly.’

In everything she does, Goes is driven by the ambition to make a difference when it comes to the energy transition. Both in her work and in her private life, she says. ‘We’ve only recently bought our first house, which we immediately equipped with solar panels, radiator foil, and led lighting. Even when you don’t have much of a budget, plenty is possible. The energy transition is not a problem we should leave at governments or large enterprises to solve, it is relevant to all of us. There is no need to wait, let’s start today and build a better tomorrow together!’

All Energy Heroes interviews: