Toward the Digital Power Plant: Siemens and Bentley Close the Gap on Design, Build, Operate and Maintain

This week in London to kick off the Year in Infrastructure event, Siemens and Bentley Systems announced a further integration of their respective platforms with the combination of Bentley’s and Siemens’ asset performance management (APM) software capabilities. The companies say that the integration will allow power plant owners to take full advantage of digitalization, which helps improve maintenance operations and planning.

Mark Confer, Director Business Model Development at Siemens Energy, said that before this integration, APM was mostly a “do-it-yourself” model where plant operators had to hand-build the models. This integration allows connections to flow from the design model of the plant to the asset management model so “it’s immediately implementable,” he said.

The Changing Role of APM

From a power plant operator perspective, the influx of renewable energy “has thrown a wrench into the cog of how utilities normally operate so that’s requiring everybody to re-think how they operate [their plants],” said Confer, adding “so we wanted to revolutionize how APM is used in the power industry.”

The combined solution will provide intelligent analytics with a range of offerings and managed services solutions. The new service will be hosted on Siemens’ cloud-based open IoT operating system, MindSphere. It can also be delivered as a service, with a fully integrated managed service solution set up and run remotely by Siemens power plant experts.

Siemens’ APM solution, part of the company’s Omnivise digital solutions portfolio, covers the entire power plant, including the combustion and steam turbines as well as associated generators and pumps, motors, transformers, valves, switchgears, and other equipment that affects plant reliability and performance.

“We are one of the largest operators of power plants in the world and we do this as a service to our customers,” said Confer.

“We have been operating plants for 35 years so we ourselves are a customer of these kinds of tools. That gives us a unique perspective of what we want to see in an operating environment,” he added.

Using intelligent models based on predictive analytics, the solution takes data from multiple sources, applies domain and analytical expertise, and then integrates into a customer’s existing Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS)/Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) environment to improve maintenance planning, reduce outages, and increase workforce efficiency.

Greg Bentley, CEO, Bentley, said, “We’re excited to be delivering, in this case for power plant owners, operational advantages made uniquely possible by our work with Siemens to leverage IoT and performance digital twins. In effect, we are together advancing APM towards asset performance modeling — where our engineering technologies (ET) compound the value of IT and operations technologies (OT).”


Optimizing Plant Performance and Digital Solutions and Cybersecurity are topics that will be discussed at POWER-GEN International, December 4-6 in Orlando, Florida.   

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Jennifer Runyon
Jennifer Runyon has been studying and reporting about the world's transition to clean energy since 2007. As editor of the world's largest renewable energy publication, Renewable Energy World, she observed, interviewed experts about, and reported on major clean energy milestones including Germany's explosive growth of solar PV, the formation and development of the U.S. onshore wind industry, the U.K. offshore wind boom, China's solar manufacturing dominance, the rise of energy storage, the changing landscape for utilities and grid operators and much, much, more. You can reach her at Jennifer.Runyon@ClarionEvents.com Today, in addition to managing content on Renewable Energy World and POWERGRID International, she also serves as the conference advisory committee chair for DISTRIBUTECH, a globally recognized conference and expo for the transmission and distribution industry. In her role, she works in close cooperation with a large team of committed industry executives to shape the educational content for the event. She also helps assemble the renewable energy content for POWERGEN and helped launch the first Grid-Scale Storage Summit, a co-located event at HYDROVISION International. She has traveled to Germany to see onshore and offshore wind installations; Iceland to see geothermal energy in action; and France to see cutting-edge smart grids. In the U.S. she has visited and reported about bioenergy power plants in Florida, both large-scale and small-scale hydropower; and multiple wind farms, solar PV, and CSP installations. Formerly, she was the managing editor of Innovate Forum, an online publication that focused on innovation in manufacturing. Prior to that she was the managing editor at Desktop Engineering magazine. In 2008, she won an "Eddy Award" for her editing work on an article about solar trees in Vienna. In 2010, RenewableEnergyWorld.com was awarded an American Business Media Neal Award for its eNewsletters, which were created under her direction. She holds a Master's Degree in English Education from Boston University and a BA in English from the University of Virginia.

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