TBEA New Energy: Building an Open, Practical, and Open-Source Digital Engineering Design Platform

-An interview with Guo Qinwen, General
Manager of TBEA Xi'an Electric Design Co., Ltd.

PVTIME – Although the 2020 SNEC was held later than previous years due to
the COVID-19 pandemic, the quality of the exhibition was unaffected. The focus
of the annual exhibition held in Shanghai has always been on new products and
technology, and TBEA New Energy certainly did not disappoint its visitors with
its VR booth which provided a three-dimensional visualization of their work in
digital engineering design.

However, visualization is merely only one
aspect of digital engineering design. What exactly is digital engineering? Is
it still just a gimmick? What impact will it have on the industry as a whole?

In order to uncover the mysterious veil and
understand the low-key and practical tactic TBEA New Energy is approaching
digital engineering design with, PVTIME interviewed Guo Qinwen, General Manager
of TBEA New Energy’s holding company, TBEA Xi'an Electric Design Co., Ltd. to
learn more.

Digital engineering design – TBEA New
Energy follows the trend

Is digital engineering design a necessity
or a gimmick?

Guo Qinwen believes that nowadays, both
policy and technology advancements are making digital engineering design urgent
and necessary.

In terms of policy, at the beginning of
2019, the National Development and Reform Commission and the National Energy
Administration issued <The Notice on Actively Promoting the Work of Wind
Power and Photovoltaic Power Generation Without Subsidy>, officially
stimulating the progress of achieving grid parity from the policy level. With
the advent of the era of grid parity, efficient and effective reduction of LCOE
has become a real demand. Digital engineering design technology can
fundamentally provide the best solution for attaining optimal electricity cost
on the design end.

At the technical level, Guo Qinwen believes
that with the development of complex mountainous region, utility-scale, and distributed
rooftop projects, digital engineering design will become the developmental
trend of the industry in the future. The designing of these types of new energy
projects has brought opportunities for the development of digital engineering
design technology. With the advent of the era of grid parity, project power
generation capacity and construction cost evaluations will be carried out and
become more important than ever. Therefore, it is necessary to construct a
digital engineering ecosystem to better manage the whole life cycle of a project.

In terms of operation and output, digital
engineering design technology not only has all the characteristics and
advantages of traditional design methods but also the advantages of intelligent
data processing, intelligent error correction, multidisciplinary collaborative
design, high-performance interactive design, and other
advantages traditional design methods do not have.

Guo Qinwen concluded that the reason why
digital engineering design should be respected by everyone can be summarized in
three points: efficiency improvement, cost reduction, and downstream needs.

Under such circumstances, TBEA New Energy
is taking advantage of the trend and has created its own digital engineering
design platform.

Open and open-source, TBEA New Energy
wants to build a sharing platform

“We don’t want to be just a gimmick. We
need to do things for the sake of digitization so that more people can benefit
from TBEA New Energy’s Design and Engineering Platform.” Guo Qinwen said.

TBEA New Energy Design and Engineering
Platform is divided into four systems: digital resource assessment system,
digital engineering design and construction management system, and post-project
evaluation system. The digital engineering ecosystem is built to govern nine
aspects which include, project macro site selection, resource evaluation, micro
site selection, economic evaluation, project design, project construction,
project construction management, project O&M, and project optimization and

The digital resource assessment system
provides project feasibility assessment in the project establishment,
acquisition, and EPC stages. It provides solutions for project decision-making,
assessing project risks, and managing project-related data.

The digital engineering design and
construction management system’s main function is to improve design accuracy
and efficiency through digital design during the project design phase, and
reduce project costs. In the project construction phase, it applies standard
digital construction models to improve project construction progress, determines
rational use of construction materials, and controls the project timeline
through digital simulations, so as to realize the digital management of the

The post-project evaluation system works in
tandem with the TB-eCloud platform to account for the project's climate and
environment in order to create a digital post-evaluation platform that
integrates operation and maintenance management, optimization, and improvement.
The platform analyzes and predicts the operation of the project and generates
suitable plans for regular inspections and overhauls based on the results. It provides
systematic solutions to corresponding failures, and improves the project’s
quality and efficiency through digital means.

According to reports, TBEA New Energy has
completed the construction of its digital design system. So far, it has
completed the design of a 110kV booster station, a wind farm in a mountainous
region, a roof photovoltaic project, and is being applied to more projects. It
is expected that by the end of 2020, the platform will achieve perfect digital
3D design as well as 3D result delivery capabilities in the fields of wind, solar,
power transmission and transformation.

With 13GW of experience, TBEA New Energy
supports the era of grid parity

Nowadays, digital engineering design has
attracted the attention of many companies such as Goldwind, Envision, Mingyang
Smart Energy, Shanghai Electric, etc. A digital system platform can solve many
issues associated with the increasingly complex development environments, power
generation systems, precise design requirements, lower electricity prices, and data
and information.

Guo Qinwen believes that TBEA New Energy
Design and Engineering platform’s main advantage comes from its efforts in the
integration of project development, engineering construction, operation
management, project O&M, key equipment manufacturing, and power system
software development. Also, TBEA New Energy has accumulated rich project
experience and big data thanks to its 13GW track record. The implementation of
its digital platform allows companies to break the "interdepartmental
wall" in one fell swoop, realize the real-time sharing of application data
and information across various industrial sectors, and quickly enhance its

As for the future, Guo Qinwen believes that
the use of digital engineering design platforms and big data analysis will
provide internal and external customers with accurate data support and analysis
during the pre-development phase of a project, help achieve efficient,
accurate, and reliable decision-making. In the project' construction stage, design
results will be transferred to the project construction unit through intuitive
and digital 3D visualizations, improve the quality of design drawings and
construction efficiency, reduce unnecessary waste in the project construction
process, so as to reduce the project construction cost.

For the new energy industry, Guo Qinwen
predicts that as technology continues to develop, digital engineering design
platforms will directly change the way project data is collected. Current
manual recordings and image recordings will change to spatial measurements and
3D dynamic recordings, and the data quality and collection efficiency will both
greatly improve. In addition, the intelligent data processing, intelligent error
correction, multi-discipline collaborative design, and high-performance
interactive design possessed by digital engineering design will directly change
the traditional design method and produce a more economic and efficient design

Moreover, the digital engineering design
platform will realize the digital management of the power station throughout
its life cycle. Through the accurate evaluation of power generation capacity,
refined project design, and reduction in construction cost, the project will
ultimately achieve grid parity.

Guo Qinwen firmly believes that the
development and application of digital design will actively promote China's
energy revolution and help realize economic transformation and upgrading.