Case Study: Jiangxi Electric Power Design Institute Increases Substation Design Efficiency

The 3-D substation model enabled lightning protection modeling and visualization.
The 3-D substation model enabled lightning protection modeling and visualization.

by Cathy Chatfield-Taylor, CC-T Unlimited

As an energy industry leader, the Power Construction Corp. of China (PowerChina) provides services from planning, survey, design and engineering to finance, construction, installation and operation and maintenance of hydropower, thermal power, new energy and infrastructure projects.

PowerChina subsidiary Jiangxi Electric Power Design Institute (JXEPDI) delivered the 220-kV Duxiling Substation for owner-operator China State Grid Corp. to support economic development and enhance the quality of life in Jiangxi Province by improving the electricity network and power supply reliability.

“Bentley Substation provides a consolidated platform for electric substation design that enables greater collaboration within and across the physical and electrical design disciplines,” said Chenhong Liu, of JXEPDI.

Using Bentley’s substation solution, which provided a unified environment for structural, physical and electrical design, the institute eliminated inconsistencies and performed concurrent engineering. As a result, the design efficiency of the CNY 81 million substation was significantly enhanced by avoiding silos of data and many errors that can occur when using separate products for site design, physical layout and electrical systems design.

Improving Substation Design

JXEPDI recognized that past substation design practices were inefficient and caused duplication of effort. Without a collaborative design process, each design discipline (site, structural, physical and electrical) had created its own substation model, which led to design inconsistencies, collision problems and rework. This work flow also had rendered the design team unable to provide a comprehensive substation model for construction.

JXEPDI sought a comprehensive solution that could help accomplish substation projects more efficiently through a collaborative design process among all disciplines. JXEPDI routinely promotes technological innovation and communicates with domestic and international leaders in the field to learn from their experience and adopt best practices. JXEPDI adopted Bentley’s substation solution to improve collaboration, quality and efficiency and to facilitate the transfer of a digital substation model to construction.

Integrated Substation Design

Bentley’s substation solution is composed of integrated design, simulation and collaboration software products that enable all disciplines to accelerate design, improve constructability and reduce the operating costs of electric substations. The solution components implemented by JXEPDI included Bentley Substation, GEOPAK Civil Engineering Suite, Bentley Raceway and Cable Management, ProSteel, STAAD.Pro and AECOsim Building Designer.

  • Bentley Substation, the only integrated software product for intelligent electrical and physical substation design, supported the creation of an intelligent substation model. The designers developed a 3-D physical layout with wiring and sag modeling to check clearance and spacing. From the comprehensive 3-D physical model, 2-D schematics and 2-D construction drawings were generated, along with bills of material and 3-D renderings for review by the owner.
  • GEOPAK Civil Engineering Suite, civil engineering and road design software for designing and sustaining infrastructure, enabled the generation of the digital terrain model using topographic data from a site survey. The software supported the design of roads and calculation of cut-and-fill quantities. The complete site model was exported for use by the structural and physical design disciplines.
  • JXEPDI used Bentley Raceway and Cable Management to execute efficient layout, routing and material quantities for raceways, cable trays, conduits and cables.
  • ProSteel was used for the structural design of truss work, gantries and other support structures for electrical equipment, conductors and cables, as well as the structural design of control and switch house buildings on-site.
  • JXEPDI used STAAD.Pro, which integrated seamlessly with ProSteel, for advanced analysis and design of support structures.
  • Starting with the structural models developed in ProSteel for consistency, JXEPDI used AECOsim Building Designer to construct a single model for the on-site control and switch houses, encompassing architectural, structural, mechanical and electrical systems design, construction documentation and 3-D visualization.

Project Collaboration Environment

JXEPDI also implemented ProjectWise, Bentley’s project collaboration and information management software for the design and construction of architecture, engineering, construction and operations projects. Used for multidiscipline collaborative design and results sharing, the software unified the design team with a single source of truth for models and analysis created using the various design applications.

The standardized working environment, engineering data and project information were all hosted on a dedicated ProjectWise server. With ProjectWise’s directory management and permissions controls, appropriate read, write and other access permissions were set up according to project team members’ needs.

Jiangxi Electric Power Design Institute Duxiling Substation
Jiangxi Electric Power Design Institute Duxiling Substation

Increased Quality, Efficiency Through Concurrent Engineering

Although JXEPDI gained independent productivity and quality benefits from each software application for substation design, the biggest gains in efficiency and quality arose from the collaboration enabled by ProjectWise. Having the entire substation design process in a unified environment improved work quality and efficiency within and across disciplines. Hosting all project information on a dedicated server enabled sharing of up-to-date models across disciplines (e.g., between structural and building with ProSteel, STAAD.Pro and AECOsim Building Designer), eliminating work duplication and inconsistencies. This timely, accurate exchange of current project information transformed what was a step-by-step design process into an agile, concurrent engineering process that shortened design time and increased its quality.

Substation Solution Enables Faster Design

Bentley’s substation solution allowed JXEPDI to achieve concurrent, streamlined work flows that improved quality and increased substation design efficiency some 30 percent.

Stakeholder communications improved because of the ability to deliver an integrated 3-D visualization of the civil, structural and electrical design in the context of the surrounding terrain.

Upon project completion, the design team delivered a comprehensive, intelligent digital substation model that will improve the efficiency of operations, maintenance and subsequent refurbishment projects.

Project Summary


POWERCHINA, Jiangxi Electric Power Design Institute


Utility Transmission and Distribution Infrastructure


Pingxiang, Jiangxi, China

Project Objective


  • Design and deliver the 220-kV Duxiling Substation.
  • Improve design quality and efficiency by implementing a unified, multidisciplined, collaborative design environment.
  • Deliver an intelligent digital substation model for construction and operations.

Products Used AECOsim Building Designer, Bentley i-model Composer, Bentley Navigator, Bentley Raceway and Cable Management, Bentley Substation, GEOPAK Civil Engineering Suite, MicroStation, ProjectWise, ProSteel, STAAD.Pro

Fast Facts


  • JXEPDI implemented Bentley’s substation solution comprising integrated design, simulation and collaboration software.
  • The solution enabled collaborative and concurrent design within and among disciplines.
  • ProjectWise enabled all disciplines to work simultaneously and have timely access to one another’s design work.



  • Substation design efficiency increased some 30 percent.
  • Project quality was increased by eliminating errors and inconsistencies across disciplines.

The comprehensive digital substation model will deliver ongoing efficiencies across the life cycle of the substation infrastructure.

Cathy Chatfield-Taylor is a freelance writer and principal of CC-T Unlimited specializing in trend stories, case studies and white papers on technology solutions for the AEC industry. Reach her at

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