Through a series of industry centric meetings and workshops, the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability (DOE-OE) gathered input from utilities throughout the United States on their experiences in implementing, or planning to implement, ADMS. The results of these meetings are documented in a February 2015 report titled Voices of Experience: Insights into Advanced Distribution Management Systems.

The report documents the potential benefits to utilities in implementing ADMS applications, and underscores the need for more affordability, a timely path for deploying ADMS, and the development and deployment of ADMS applications. The high cost and amount of time required for ADMS deployment and application development was highlighted.

In response to these needs, DOE-OE has established an ADMS program with this project specifically tasked with developing an open-source, standards based ADMS application development platform - GridAPPS-D.

Conceptual Design Summary

A conceptual design for GridAPPS-D was created at the beginning of the project. The conceptual design is summarized below. The full design document may be downloaded from this link - GridAPPS-D Conceptual Design

This document provides a high level, conceptual view of the platform and provides related background and contextual information. This document is intended to both educate readers about the technical work of the project and to serve as a point of reference for the project team. The document will be updated as the project progresses.


A conceptual architecture for the system has five key functional elements as shown in Figure 1:

  1. Tools help developers enhance the functionality of their applications. Examples might include off-line power flow, optimization tool boxes, state estimators, statistical processing, etc.
  2. I/O allows convenient access to the power system model and data through standards-based queries and messages. Conversely, applications can send control signals to the simulator using standard message schemas.
  3. Development utilities include loggers, debuggers, access control, test managers, user interface toolkits, and other application support functions.
  4. Data bus is based on industry standards like IEC 61968 and 61970 (i.e. the Common Information Model), plus more to be identified.
  5. Distribution simulator represents the power system operating in real time. Initially, this will be GridLAB-D, but future versions may include EPRI’s OpenDSS, ns-3 for communications, and other federated co-simulators.

Figure 1 also shows the relationships between GridAPPS-D, the ADMS application developer and commercial tools. Two different classes of data flow are shown:

  1. Control and configuration data are shown with dashed lines; this allows the application developer to manage the platform.
  2. Data flowing as a part of an application are shown with solid lines.

For more detailed information about the architecture and design, see UML from the Functional Specification


Figure 1: GridAPPS-D provides a method for developers (top) to run their new applications on a real-time simulator with extensive modeling and tool support (heavy box). GridAPPS-D is built around standard data models like the CIM (center). It readily interfaces to existing software products (right), which may also 1) use components of GridAPPS-D and 2) supplement or replace the built-in distribution simulator (bottom), facilitating the deployment of new ADMS applications to existing software products.

Definition of Terms

Process Manager - Process Manager keeps track of all the processes running on the platform. These processes may include simulators, requests, applications and other managers. It is also the starting point for a request received by the platform.

Configuration Manager - It receives simulation configuration request from Process Manager and parses it to build the necessary configuration files.

Data Manager - The data manager accesses the database to build the model files used by the simulator.

Simulation Manager - The simulation manager launches the simulator and other required applications such as the FNCS bridge, FNCS, and the VoltVar application. It is in charge of managing the timing of the simulation and reporting output from the simulation out to the simulation status topic.

FNCS-GOSS Bridge - Serves as a bridge between FNCS and Simulation Manager.

FNCS - FNCS is a network co-simulator used to communicate between simulator and FNCS-GOSS bridge

Platform - Refers to GridAPPS-D platform.

RC1 - Release Cycle 1.

Simulation - A real world distribution system currently done by GridLAB-D

Simulator - In current release GridLAB-D serves as the simulator.

VoltVar Application -

Vizualization - A web-based visualization application is developed in RC1 to view power system model with real time values from simulation result.

GOSS - Grid Optics Software System is a middleware architecture designed as a prototype future data analytics and integration platform

GridLAB-D - GridLAB-D is a distribution level powerflow simulator. It acts as the real world distribution system in GridAPPS-D.

Power System Model - IEEE 8500 model is used in RC1.

Model - See Power System Model

CIM - Common Information Model is a standard for representing electrical network and exchange information.


[CIT1]W. H. Kersting, “Radial distribution test feeders,” in 2001 IEEE Power Engineering Society Winter Meeting. Conference Proceedings (Cat. No.01CH37194), 2001, pp. 908-912 vol.2.
[CIT2]R. F. Arritt and R. C. Dugan, “The IEEE 8500-node test feeder,” in IEEE PES T&D 2010, 2010, pp. 1-6.
[CIT3]M. E. Baran and H. Ming-Yung, “Volt/VAr control at distribution substations,” in IEEE Transactions on Power Systems, vol. 14, pp. 312-318, 1999.
[CIT4]V. Borozan, M. E. Baran, and D. Novosel, “Integrated volt/VAr control in distribution systems,” in 2001 IEEE Power Engineering Society Winter Meeting. Conference Proceedings (Cat. No.01CH37194), 2001, pp. 1485-1490 vol.3.
[CIT5]K. P. Schneider and J. C. Fuller, “Voltage control devices on the IEEE 8500 node test feeder,” in IEEE PES T&D 2010, 2010, pp. 1-6.
[CIT6]I. Gorton et al., “GridOPTICS(TM) A Novel Software Framework for Integrating Power Grid Data Storage, Management and Analysis,” in System Sciences (HICSS), 2013 46th Hawaii International Conference on, 2013, pp. 2167-2176.
[CIT7]S. Ciraci, J. Daily, J. Fuller, A. Fisher, L. Marinovici, and K. Agarwal, “FNCS: a framework for power system and communication networks co-simulation,” in Proceedings of the Symposium on Theory of Modeling & Simulation - DEVS Integrative, Tampa, Florida, 2014, pp. 1-8.
[CIT8]D. P. Chassin, J. C. Fuller, and N. Djilali, “GridLAB-D: An agent-based simulation framework for smart grids,” in Journal of Applied Mathematics, vol. 2014, no. 492320, pp. 1-12, 2014.

Version History

Version Name: Release Cycle 1 (RC1)

Release Date: May 2017

Version description: This is the first version for internal release of GridAPPS-D platform. This is not ready for public use yet.

Functional requirements covered in this release:

  • 102/202 Command Interface
  • 301 Real-time Simulation Data
  • 310 Hosted Application, but short-cutting the registration process (partial)
  • 401 Distribution Co-Simulator (partial)
  • 402 Process Manager (partial)
  • 404 Data Manager (partial)
  • 405 Simulation Manager (partial)
  • 406 Power System Model Manager (partial)
  • 413 Platform Manager (encapsulating 401 and 403-406)

Contact Us

GridAPPS-D team can be reached at gridappsd@pnnl.gov