Power Systems Analysis Software
From Open Electrical
Power systems analysis and simulation software are ubiquitous in electrical engineering practice. Initially, they were used to quickly solve the non-linear load flow problem and calculate short circuit currents, but their use has been extended to many other areas such as power system stability, protection and coordination, contingency / reliability, economic modelling, etc.
This article provides a list of the most common software packages used for power systems analysis, and surveys both commercial and non-commercial software (listed in alphabetical order by vendor name).
ASPEN (Advanced Systems for Power Engineering) are a California based company that develops the following separate Windows platform products:
- OneLiner - short circuit and relay coordination program (and the Breaker Rating Module add-on checks the rating of circuit breakers against the short circuit currents they need to interrupt)
- DistriView - integrated suite of voltage drop, short circuit, relay coordination, and harmonics and reliability calculation software for utility distribution systems
- Power Flow Program - power flow program designed for the planning, design and operating studies of transmission, sub-transmission and distribution networks (includes a BASIC-style scripting language)
- Line Constants Program - calculates electrical parameters of overhead transmission lines and underground cables
- Relay Database - a repository of relay information for electric utilities and industrial facilities
- Line Database - an electronic depository of data related to power lines and cables
BCP Switzerland (NEPLAN)
BCP Switzerland are a Zurich-based company and the developers of NEPLAN, a modular power systems analysis package.
NEPLAN has the following modules: load flow, short circuit, contingency analysis, motor starting analysis, OPF, line parameter calculations, network reduction, harmonic analysis, investment analysis, dynamic simulation, reliability analysis, overcurrent and distance protection, earthing analysis, load forecasting, network optimisation tools, arc flash analysis and cable sizing. NEPLAN also features a C/C++ based programming language and MATLAB interface.
Commonwealth Associates (Transmission 2000)
Commonwealth Associates Inc are a Jackson, Michigan based company specialising in transmission and distribution services. Transmission 2000 is a proprietary product developed by Commonwealth Associates for the analysis of utility transmission systems.
Features of Transmission 2000 include load flow, constrained economic dispatch, transient stability, short circuit, protection analysis and calculation of line constants.
CYME International is a Canadian firm (now part of the Cooper Power Systems family) that develops an integrated suite of modular power engineering applications, as well as standalone applications for cable ampacity calculations and electromagnetic transients.
The integrated suite has a range of functions including load flow, short circuit, OPF, load balancing, load allocation / estimation, optimal capacitor placement, network forecaster, reliability, transient stability, harmonic analysis, dynamic motor starting, contingency, protection coordination, switching optimisation, GIS overlay, earthing grid design and arc flash analysis.
DIgSILENT GmbH is a German company that develops PowerFactory, a Windows-based integrated power systems modelling and analysis package.
Functions include load flow, short circuit, stability analysis, electromagnetic transients analysis, motor starting analysis, OPF, harmonic load flow, state estimation, contingency, reliability, voltage stability, network reduction, overhead line and cable parameter calculation, distribution network analysis, eigenvalue / modal analysis.
Features include a C++ style scripting language and a single, integrated, flexible database.
Energy Computer Systems (SPARD)
Energy Computer Systems is a Colombian company that develops SPARD mp Power, an integrated power systems analysis software package.
Functions include load flow, short circuit, harmonic analysis, automatic protection coordination, transient stability, OPF and optimisation tools.
Electrocon International are a Michigan based company and developers of the Computer Aided Protection Engineering (CAPE) software, a Windows-platform protection tool designed for high voltage transmission systems and distribution systems within electric power utilities. CAPE was first released in 1990.
Functions include short circuit analysis, protection coordination, relay settings and checking with a system simulator, load flow, OPF, short circuit reduction, breaker duty evaluation and line constants calculations.
ERA Technology are a UK-based consultancy that also develop the power system analysis program ERACS. Features include: load flow, short circuit, arc flash analysis, harmonic studies, transient stability and protection coordination.
EasyPower LLC, founded in 1990 and based in Oregon, are the developers of EasyPower®, an integrated power systems analysis software, with an array of products such as EasyPower®, EasySolv™, SafetyTracker™ and DataExpress Oneline Designer™. The flagship product, EasyPower, includes the following modules: arc flash analysis, power flow, short circuit, OPF, protective device coordination, dynamic stability, transient motor starting, and harmonic analysis.
Additional workflow enhancing modules include SmartPDC™, which automates protective device coordination, and SmartDesign™ which automatically sizes feeders, breakers, switchgear, fuses, busway, MCCs, panels, etc to NEC requirements. The ScenarioManager feature allows the study of multiple system scenarios on the fly.
DataExpress Oneline Designer is a cost effective solution for people who are dedicated to creating onelines, as well as system data collection and entry.
Founded in 1986 and headquartered in Irvine, California, ETAP is a company specialising in electrical power system modeling, design, analysis, optimization, and predictive real-time solutions. To date, more than 50,000 licenses of the Company’s ETAP and ETAP Real-Time products have been used in generation, transmission, distribution, and industrial power system projects around the world.
Functions include arc flash analysis, load flow analysis, short circuit analysis, motor starting, OPF, transient stability analysis, generator start-up, parameter estimation, cable sizing, transformer tap optimization, reliability assessment, transmission line constant calculations, harmonic analysis, protection coordination, dc load flow, battery discharge and sizing, earth grid design, cable pulling, and GIS map integration.
GDF Suez (Eurostag)
Eurostag is a package developed by Tractabel Engineering GDF Suez and RTE (France), which includes the following functions: load flow, dynamic simulation, critical clearing time calculation, eigenvalue computation and system linearisation, dynamic security assessment, model parameter identification and small signal analysis. One of the more unique features of Eurostag is the out-of-the-box modelling of power plant mechanical / energy conversion equipment such as boilers, gas turbines, etc.
GE Energy (PSLF)
GE Energy develop a range of utility software including PSLF (Positive Sequence Load Flow), a suite of analytical tools that can simulate large-scale power systems up to 60,000 buses.
Functions include load flow, OPF, short circuit and dynamic simulation. Includes support for a scripting language called EPCL.
IPSA Power is a division of UK company TNEI that develops the IPSA (Interactive Power System Analsysis) software package. IPSA was started as a PhD project in 1954 and the first commercial version was released in 1980.
Functions include load flow, short circuit, OPF, transient and dynamic stability, harmonic analysis, protection coordination. A Python-based scripting language is supported, as well as an open API for use in other applications (with Visual Basic / VBA, C/C++ and Fortran bindings).
MILSOFT Utility Solutions are a Texas based company that develops Windmil, an electric distribution system planning and analysis package. Functions include load flow and voltage drop modeling, reliability analysis, contingency and sectionalizing studies, OPF, short circuit and fault current calculations, protective device coordination and arc flash hazard analysis.
Manitoba Hyrdo International (PSCAD)
Manitoba Hydro International is a Canadian company with a research arm called the Manitoba HVDC Research Centre that develops the software PSCAD (also known as PSCAD/EMTDC). PSCAD is an electromagnetic time domain transient simulation environment and study tool, created in 1988 and first released commercially in 1993. It is a multi-purpose dynamic simulator with particular specialisation in HVDC applications.
Mathworks, the makers of general purpose mathematical software MATLAB, also develop an power systems simulation program. SimPowerSystems is a tool that extends MATLAB's Simulink and provides models of many components used in power systems, including three-phase machines, electric drives, and libraries of application-specific models such as Flexible AC Transmission Systems (FACTS) and wind-power generation. Harmonic analysis, calculation of Total Harmonic Distortion (THD), load flow, and other key power system analyses are automated.
MicroTran Power Systems Analysis Corporation is a spinoff company of the University of British Columbia (UBC), where the founders H. W. Dommel, J. R. Marti and L. Marti are (or were once) based. MicroTran is the UBC version of the electromagnetic transients program EMTP.
Nexant is a California based company that develop SCOPE, an integrated set of power system analysis tools intended for network operations. Functions include load flow, contingency analysis, security constrained OPF and market simulations.
Power Analytics (EDSA)
Power Analytics is a California based company that develop the Paladin suite of software products (formerly called EDSA). Paladin DesignBase is an integrated power systems modelling and analysis tool.
Functions include load flow, short circuit, arc flash simulations, OPF, reliability and capacity, protection coordination, optimal sizing and placement of reactive power sources, dynamic simulations, harmonic analysis, sizing tools (battery, cable, generator set, conduit, motor parameter estimation, etc), cable pulling and earth grid design.
Powertech Labs (DSATools)
Powertech Labs are a subsidiary of Canadian utility BC Hydro and developers of the dynamic security assessment and power systems analysis package DSATools. The tools are primarily designed for online dynamic security assessment.
DSATools comprises four main modules:
- PSAT: Power flow and short circuit analysis tool
- VSAT: Voltage stability analysis tool
- TSAT: Transient stability analysis tool
- SSAT: Small signal analysis tool
PowerWorld Corporation are a Champaign, Illinois based firm that develop the PowerWorld Simulator suite of power systems analysis tools for Windows. The software focuses on a visual approach to power system simulation.
Functions include load flow, short circuit, contingency analysis, sensitivity calculations, security constrained OPF, transient stability, transmission line parameter calculations. Includes scripting support.
ReticMaster is a Windows-based tool from South Africa designed for the analysis of radial networks. Functions include load flow, short circuit, motor starting and protection coordination.
Siemens PTI (PSS/E and SINCAL)
Siemens PTI is the consulting, software and training arm of Siemens AG. Siemens PTI offers the Power Systems Simulator (PSS) product suite, which includes among others:
The Power System Simulator for Engineering (PSS/E) was one of the first GUI-based power systems analysis software, and was first released in 1976. It was purchased by Siemens in 2005.
Functions include load flow, short circuit, dynamic simulations, OPF, contingency analysis (probabilistic and deterministic), protection, eigenvalue / modal analysis, harmonics and small signal stability. User-defined scripts can be created using a Python-style scripting language.
Siemens Network Calculator (SINCAL) is a software pacakage with planning tools for electricity as well as pipe networks (gas, water, heating / cooling). Functions relevant to power systems analysis include load flow (balanced and unbalanced), short circuit, time-domain dynamic simulations, eigenvalue and modal analysis (integrated with PSS®NETOMAC), harmonic analysis, protection simulations (integrated with PSS®PDMS), reliability and contingency analysis.
SKM (Power*Tools for Windows)
SKM Systems Analysis are a California-based corporation that develop Power*Tools for Windows (PTW), an integrated suite of power systems analysis tools aimed at industrial systems. The original software, called DAPPER, was first released in 1978, though the initial version of PTW wasn't released until 1995.
Functions include load flow, short circuit, demand load analysis, OPF, load schedules, feeder and transformer sizing, protection coordination (CAPTOR), arc flash analysis, transient motor starting (TMS), harmonic analysis (HI_WAVE), transient stability (I*SIM), distribution reliability, earth grid design (GroundMat), dc load flow and short circuit analysis, battery sizing, cable pulling analysis and equipment evaluation.
AMES is a free open source software package for agent-based modelling of wholesale electricity markets (based on DC optimal power flow analysis).
DCOPFJ is a free open source "Java solver for bid/offer-based DC optimal power flow (DC-OPF) problems suitable for research, teaching, and training applications. The DCOPFJ package consists of two linked parts: an internal solver QuadProgJ for strictly convex quadratic programming problems, and an outer shell that automates input data preprocessing and output data display".
The Alternative Transients Program (ATP) is a free (closed source) program for the digital simulation of electromagnetic (and electromechanical) transient phenomena. ATP-EMTP was first developed in 1984.
Dome is a Python-based project by Frederico Milano (creator of PSAT). Dome is a command-line application and can currently solve load flows, continuation power flow, time domain simulation including the quasi-static one, small signal stability analysis and optimal power flow.
Elplek is a freeware short circuit, protection coordination and load flow calculation application for Windows developed by Ilkka Leikkonen.
InterPSS (Internet technology based Power System Simulator) is a free, open source power systems analysis package built in Java by a team of international developers from the US, Canada and China. InterPSS is an integrated package that can run load flow, short circuit, transient stability and power transfer analysis.
MatDyn is an open source extension of MATPOWER for the dynamic analysis of power systems. Following on from the MATPOWER philosophy, "it is intended as a simulation tool for researchers and educators that is easy to use and modify."
MATPOWER is a Matlab-based power systems simulation package developed at Cornell University. MATPOWER can solve load flow and optimal power flow problems, and "is intended as a simulation tool for researchers and educators that is easy to use and modify".
OpenDSS (Distribution System Simulator) is an open source project by the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI). OpenDSS is Windows-based and "supports all rms steady-state (frequency domain) analyses commonly performed on electric power distribution systems, such as power flow, harmonic analysis and fault current calculations."
The Power Systems Analysis Toolbox (PSAT) is a Matlab-based package developed by Frederico Milano for power systems analysis and simulation. Functions include load flow, OPF, small signal stability analysis and time domain simulation.
TEFTS is an open source program for DOS and UNIX "designed to do transient stability and energy function analyses of reduced dynamic models of ac/dc power systems, with additional capabilities for voltage stability (bifurcation) studies based on continuation methods. This package is not designed for "commercial grade" studies, but rather for research and teaching purposes."
UWPFLOW is an open source Windows and UNIX-based toolset "designed to calculate local bifurcations related to system limits or singularities in the system Jacobian. The program also generates a series of output files that allow further analyses, such as tangent vectors, left and right eigenvectors at a singular bifurcation point, Jacobians, power flow solutions at different loading levels, voltage stability indices, etc".