Infrastructure Evolution is all About Foresight

A few weeks ago I attended an event organized and hosted by Bentley Systems, a U.S.-based company that develops and sells computer software and services used to design, construct and operate all types of infrastructure, including that used in the electricity industry. The event was created to showcase some of the world’s most innovative and inspiring projects.

I was privileged to be a judge on two different panels that evaluated projects in two electric utility categories-generation, and utilities and communications. In both categories, we selected Chinese projects as the best infrastructure projects. One project was a large hydropower plant and the other was a new underground/aboveground substation built in a space-constrained area. Both projects used some of the latest design and construction products and techniques available.

And, did I mention, both were built in China? In fact, nine winners from the 18 project categories (54 project finalists), each representing a different industry, were Chinese projects. I’m not implying that the Chinese are more clever or ingenious than the rest of the world when it comes to new technologies, but I do think that they are to be commended for their willingness to use the latest techniques and technologies as they electrify their country and build out new infrastructure. Perhaps they are better able to do so because in many cases, unlike the U.S., Europe and other parts of the world, the Chinese are starting with a clean slate. They often have no preconceived notions or existing infrastructure to cloud their vision.

The solutions and techniques highlighted at the Bentley conference are being used to not only intelligently build infrastructure, but also to build intelligent infrastructure. In other words, infrastructure that can change and adapt as society and its needs progress.

Bhupinder Singh, Bentley Systems’ chief product officer, spoke about the evolution to the smart infrastructure lifecycle. “Hindsight yields insight and insight yields foresight,” he said.

Keeping our readers abreast of the evolution to the smart electricity delivery infrastructure lifecycle is at the core of POWERGRID International’s mission. I hope this issue provides you with not only insight, but sparks your vision of the future-your foresight.

TERESA HANSEN

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