Digital twins for the electricity sector are key to the utility of the future

Back in late January at DISTRIBUTECH International, Rod Walton talked with experts from Siemens and Bentley about their new offering for utilities and what it means for the future. Next week, we’ll be hosting a live webcast with experts from Bentley Systems to explain more.

Digital Twins: Why Every Utility Should Take Note will take place April 22, 2020 at 10AM eastern time and we hope you will join us.

Why should utilities take note? Three words: Distributed Energy Resources. The teaming up of Bentley’s Open Utilities network design tool and Siemens PSS SINCAL simulation software will help utilities plan for a future with a vast amount of distributed energy resources (DER), such as solar panels, on the grid.

“We’re working (with customers) to implement automated interconnection studies for DERs,” Jim Taylor, vice president of digital grid business development at Siemens Smart Infrastructure USA explained to Walton.

“The utility has to plan for each interconnection request individually, sometimes creating long queues for analysis and customer response to the requests. Every state or country has to figure out how to manage these requests in a timely and efficient manner,” he added.

And this is true whether it’s Hawaii and California dealing with solar PV or Texas, Iowa, and Oklahoma incorporating vast amounts of utility-scale wind power. The offering can break down silos and help utilities efficiently and easily conduct interconnection studies.

Meanwhile, grid systems of the future increasingly will rely on data to help measure impacts and confront the threats to grid resiliency.

Digitalization helps provide answers for grid planners. The benefit is not just purely on the distribution grid but also at the power plant.

“Digital twin is a journey; it’s not boom, there you have it,” Vonnie Smith, vice president of energy infrastructure at Bentley Systems, said during the discussion at DISTRIBUTECH. “It’s about digital workflows working together.”

Want to learn more about the digital journey that many utilities are already working on? Join us next week. You can register for the webinar here.

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Jennifer Runyon manages content on Renewable Energy World and POWERGRID International and also serves as the conference advisory committee chair for DISTRIBUTECH International. You can reach her at

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