The Power of BIM in the Power Industry
Jeffrey Heimgartner posted on February 15, 2017 |
Siemens and Bentley team up to offer planning and design solutions for utilities.

When most people think of BIM, they think of buildings. That's definitely understandable since the acronym itself is building information modeling. But BIM has been and continues to become much more far reaching than just the architecture and building industry. BIM is becoming more and more relevant in sectors such as civil engineering, transportation, infrastructure and more. The benefits gained from shared, accurate, up-to-date digital 3D data and project information is not limited to any one industry or trade.

Siemens and Bentley Systems definitely seem to understand how BIM can be used outside the architecture, engineering and construction industry. In November 2016, the two companies formed a strategic alliance with the goal of driving new business value by accelerating digitalization used to advance infrastructure project delivery and asset performance in complementary business areas. Siemens and Bentley Systems committed to invest at least EUR€50 million to develop joint solutions to enlarge their respective offerings for infrastructure and industry that would aim to benefit their end customers.

Continuing to build on this alliance, Siemens' Energy Management Division and Bentley Systems just announced an agreement to develop solutions jointly to accelerate digitalization of planning, design and operations for power utilities and industrial power customers. The first of these new solutions will integrate Bentley Systems' utility design and geographic information systems (GIS) capabilities with Siemens’ Power System Simulation (PSS) Suite, with specific solutions for power transmission, power distribution and industrial facilities. Bringing these two platforms together provides customers with Bentley's expertise in 3D infrastructure asset modeling and GIS with Siemens' knowledge and experience in energy system planning and simulation.

Designing district energy networks with Bentley OpenUtilities Map.(Image courtesy of Bentley Systems.)
Designing district energy networks with Bentley OpenUtilities Map.(Image courtesy of Bentley Systems.)

Low-voltage network with interactive Internet map from Siemens PSS Suite (Image courtesy of Siemens.)

Low-voltage network with interactive Internet map from Siemens PSS Suite (Image courtesy of Siemens.)

Power systems continue to evolve and, in some regards, become more complex as a result of efforts to become more efficient. Systems like distributed energy resources (DER) that are smaller power sources that can be aggregated to provide power necessary to meet normal demand are becoming more popular. As the electricity grid continues to modernize, DER can help facilitate the transition to a smarter grid. Another system being used is the microgrid, with its off-grid/on-grid modes. A microgrid is a localized grouping of electricity sources that normally operates connected to and synchronous with the traditional centralized grid (macrogrid), but it can also be disconnected to function autonomously as conditions dictate.

Systems like the ones described above require more advanced planning to make sure the system is reliable and stable. Bentley’s OpenUtilities solution for utility power grid design and GIS will be integrated with Siemens’ PSS Suite for power system planning with the intent of providing seamless workflows and data integration, while supporting optimal network design for both operational and economic performance. Utility engineers will experience the added benefit of sharing critical design information through a connected data environment that will help to reduce design time and construction costs to utility network updates.

Another benefit the Siemens/Bentley initiative will provide is intelligent Siemens components for placement into Bentley's Substation application for 3D modeling. Intelligent electrical symbols will provide necessary details for comprehensive reports in a substation's 2D schematic layout. This will also allow Bentley users to have access to the comprehensive Siemens components catalog through Bentley’s cloud services.

About Siemens AG

Founded in 1847 and headquartered in Berlin and Munich, Siemens AG is the largest manufacturing and electronics company in Europe. The company is active in more than 200 countries, focusing on the areas of electrification, automation and digitalization. One of the world’s largest producers of energy-efficient, resource-saving technologies, Siemens is a supplier of efficient power generation and power transmission solutions, infrastructure solutions and automation, drive and software solutions for industry. The company is also a provider of medical imaging equipment, such as computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging systems, laboratory diagnostics and clinical IT. At the end of September 2016, the company had around 351,000 employees worldwide.

About Bentley Systems

Founded in 1984, Bentley has more than 3,000 colleagues in over 50 countries and more than $600 million in annual revenues and, since 2008, has invested more than $1 billion in research, development and acquisitions. The company provides architects, engineers, geospatial professionals, constructors and owner-operators with comprehensive software solutions for advancing the design, construction and operations of infrastructure. Bentley users leverage information mobility across disciplines and throughout the infrastructure lifecycle to deliver better-performing projects and assets. Bentley solutions encompass MicroStation applications for information modeling, ProjectWise collaboration services to deliver integrated projects and AssetWise operations services to achieve intelligent infrastructure—complemented by worldwide professional services and comprehensive managed services.

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