OpenDSS: Where it came from and where it is going




The OpenDSS program was created in 1997 when the Distribution Planning problem became more complicated due largely to the introduction of distributed generation into the distribution system.  Through the 190’s it became apparent that engineers were going to have to include more than the radial MV feeders to get the right answer.  The sub-transmission (HV) system was added, requiring a meshed system solver – so we adapted methods from a harmonics solver capable of modeling very detailed multiphase power systems.  Then we learned that the answer was still no right: the load and generation had to move to account for the coincidence between them.  Static power flows gave way to 8760-hour simulation.  EPRI made the program open source in 2008 to make its features available to many more researchers and to train the next generation of distribution engineers.  In the last 15 year, there have been over 160,000 downloads worldwide.  There are no doubt thousands of BS, MS, and Ph.D. students whose projects have been made possible by Open DSS.

Many features have been added including built-in parallel processing and other support for modern computing architectures.  Moving forward, there will be more emphasis on such things as dynamics for microgrid simulations, modern DER and grid conditioning devices, advanced protection/coordination capabilities and better means of accommodating user customization.  A tighter connection to the popular Python language and more cross-platform implementations are quite likely. 


Speaker Bio

Roger Dugan is a Sr. Technical Executive with EPRI in Knoxville, Tennessee USA.  He has over 50 years of combined experience in distribution engineering with EPRI, Electrotek Concepts, and Cooper Power Systems. Roger has worked on many diverse aspects of power engineering over his career because of his interests in applying computer methods to power system simulation.  He was elected a Fellow of the IEEE for his contributions in the development of computer simulation methods for harmonics and transient analysis.  Recently, he has been very active in distributed generation, particularly as it applies to utility distribution systems and distribution system analysis.  He is a coauthor of Electrical Power Systems Quality published by McGraw-Hill, now in its 3rd edition.  He serves on the IEEE PES Distribution System Analysis Subcommittee and the Distribution Test Feeders WG.

  Date and Time




  • Date: 23 Oct 2023
  • Time: 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM
  • All times are (UTC-05:00) Central Time (US & Canada)
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