Bus.py: A GridLAB-D Communication Interface for Smart Distribution Grid Simulations

Timothy M. Hansen, Bryan Palmintier, Siddharth Suryanarayanan, Anthony A. Maciejewski, Howard Jay Siegel

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

17 Scopus Citations


As more Smart Grid technologies (e.g., distributed photovoltaic, spatially distributed electric vehicle charging) are integrated into distribution grids, static distribution simulations are no longer sufficient for performing modeling and analysis. GridLAB-D is an agent-based distribution system simulation environment that allows fine-grained end-user models, including geospatial and network topology detail. A problem exists in that, without outside intervention, once the GridLAB-D simulation begins execution, it will run to completion without allowing the real-time interaction of Smart Grid controls, such as home energy management systems and aggregator control. We address this lack of runtime interaction by designing a flexible communication interface, Bus.py (pronounced bus-dot-pie), that uses Python to pass messages between one or more GridLAB-D instances and a Smart Grid simulator. This work describes the design and implementation of Bus.py, discusses its usefulness in terms of some Smart Grid scenarios, and provides an example of an aggregator-based residential demand response system interacting with GridLAB-D through Bus.py. The small scale example demonstrates the validity of the interface and shows that an aggregator using said interface is able to control residential loads in GridLAB-D during runtime to cause a reduction in the peak load on the distribution system in (a) peak reduction and (b) time-of-use pricing cases.

Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages5
StatePublished - 2015
EventIEEE Power and Energy Society General Meeting, PESGM 2015 - Denver, United States
Duration: 26 Jul 201530 Jul 2015


ConferenceIEEE Power and Energy Society General Meeting, PESGM 2015
Country/TerritoryUnited States

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 IEEE.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CP-5D00-63241


  • aggregator
  • communication interface
  • demand response
  • energy systems integration
  • GridLAB-D
  • simulation test bed


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