Industry survey confirms the benefits of intelligent substation design

By Victor Alvarez, senior product marketing manager, Bentley Systems

For many, substation design remains CAD-centric, manually intensive and error prone. But new intelligent substation design technology has made it possible to design substations 30 per cent faster. The results of a recent survey of utility professionals and consulting engineers indicate widespread belief this technology is the future of substation design.

Intelligent substation design is a model-centric approach uniting physical and electrical design disciplines while providing productivity tools. Designers construct an intelligent substation model by laying out the substation in 3D. The model supports the development of 2D drawings that are automatically cross-referenced to eliminate the manual replication of design elements common to multiple drawings. It links every object in a drawing to a parts database that contains equipment properties and engineering design constraints. This enables built-in error checking of designs and automated generation of accurate bills of material.

The Newton-Evans Research Company surveyed 86 substation design professionals to examine the perceived value of intelligent substation design. The results show that:

• 64 per cent believe it can eliminate the need to re-enter design data;

• 71 per cent believe it can reduce manual consistency checks across drawings;

• 74 per cent believe it can accelerate bills of material creation and updates;

• 72 per cent believe it can increase bills of material accuracy; and

• 69 per cent believe it can accelerate substation design.

The Newton-Evans survey indicates many utilities and engineering contractors believe intelligent substation design can significantly increase engineering productivity. Those already achieving 30 to 40 per cent faster design efficiency include Iberdrola and Pacific Gas and Electric. Such substantial benefits are sure to make intelligent substation design the de facto industry standard.