T&D World Magazine

CPS Energy to Manage Substation Infrastructure With Bentley Software

CPS Energy is adopting Bentley software to fully automate and streamline workflows associated with the design and management of power transmission and distribution infrastructure, including 87 substations. Going forward, CPS Energy will more effectively and efficiently design substations directly in 3D using MicroStation and better manage more than 23,000 existing CAD drawings related to substations using the ProjectWise collaboration system. In addition, using Bentley’s substation layout software, CPS Energy will automate all substation layout functions, including the production of drawings, the generation of bills of materials, standards-based design, and the management of CAD, raster, hybrid, and other substation information in databases. As a result, the utility will be able to reduce the overall cost of building new substation infrastructure and maintaining existing infrastructure throughout its life cycle, and more easily recruit and retain new engineering talent.

“We initiated this project to bring our working practices into the 21st century,” said David Luschen, CPS Energy director, transmission and substation engineering. “The changes we are implementing will enable us to handle more projects with the same resources. It’s all about getting more done more efficiently. I fully expect this project to transform the way in which CPS Energy designs and manages our substation infrastructure. We will have easier access to existing drawings, enjoy streamlined workflows and improved version control, produce more accurate bills of materials, and save costs in construction through the avoidance of project change orders.”

Luschen continued, “At the same time, this advanced technology will help us attract new talent into the organization to help us design and manage our ever-expanding substation infrastructure. These young engineers want to use the latest software tools available, including those that can provide fully automated workflows supported by effective enterprise software systems.”

The first phase of the project – putting the existing library of substation infrastructure CAD drawings into ProjectWise – has been accomplished. The second phase involves adding the drawings covering the wider transmission infrastructure. Eventually, all new designs will be managed in ProjectWise for both version control and effective server-side archiving. ProjectWise access controls prevent more than one person from editing the same file at the same time, which reduces the volume of unnecessary rework. Further, the whole project team can easily search within ProjectWise for any relevant criterion, such as name of designer, location, material type, or project year.

By using MicroStation to design directly in 3D, rather than relying on initial hand-drawn sketches and 2D CAD drawings, the design process will be shorter and produce more accurate engineering drawings. In addition, the utility will be able to produce more accurate cost estimates and bills of materials. To ensure that bills of materials are current, Bentley’s substation layout software will periodically import materials and Configurable Standard Network (CSN) data from SAP’s Project Systems module.

In addition, the CPS Energy project teams will be able to use the 3D model to:

  • Support public presentations that show the impact of new substation infrastructure on the local environment, speeding decision making,
  • Detect clashes and interferences before design sign-off, avoiding construction-stage change orders that can cost tens of thousands of dollars each.
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