February 3, 2023

Introducing the 9500 Node Distribution Test System to Support Advanced Power Applications


The 9500 Node Test System is a representative section of distribution power system model developed as a part of the GridAPPS-D™ project, an effort funded by DOE as a part of the Grid Modernization Lab Consortium (GMLC) program. The test system was developed to fulfill a growing need to represent the rapidly evolving state of electric distribution systems by combining elements of legacy infrastructure systems, modern feeder topologies , and an anticipated future with smart grid technologies. It also provides a network model capable of supporting the simulation of operational scenarios such as the ones in a utility distribution control center. This test system allows the evaluation of the performance of advanced power applications in real-time, such as one that simulates the operations of an Advanced Distribution Management Systems (ADMS), Distributed Energy Resource Management Systems (DERMS), etc. in a Distribution control center. This model is an extension of the widely used IEEE 8500 Node Test Feeder and is currently being validated to become an IEEE test case to help increase adoption and widespread usage among both academia and industry. It is a full-size model representative of a section of a utility’s distribution system with multiple feeders fed from different substations. The model includes multiple distribution circuits, a sub-transmission system, multiple substations, behind the meter customer rooftop photovoltaics (PV), and multiple utility-scale distributed energy resources. To enable accurate simulations of operational scenarios, the 9500 Node Test System is designed to support procedure-based operations, with the ability to realistically demonstrate switching operations, feeder reconfiguration, adjustment of volt-var control equipment, dispatch of distributed generation, and response to planned and unplanned outages. The 9500 Node Test System includes three radial distribution feeders with 12.3 MVA of average load, consisting of both medium voltage and low voltage equipment each supplied by a different distribution substation. The three distribution feeders are connected to each other through Normally-Open switches which can be closed when needed to simulate restoration scenarios due to a fault. One feeder represents today’s grid with low penetration of customer-side renewables. The second represents a potential future grid with microgrids and 100% renewable penetration. The third has no customer generation resources, a district steam plant, and a utility-scale solar farm. The three diverse circuits were created to allow the simulation of both today’s situation as well as potential future scenarios. All three feeders have customers connected by low-voltage secondary triplex lines. This test system meets all requirements outlined in the report for creating a simulation environment that would enable discussion between key technical stakeholders as well as having the potential to accelerate operational application development and their subsequent testing and integration. The new model is a possible representation of what we believe the distribution grid may look like in the future: a high penetration of renewables, reconfigurable radial and mesh topology, numerous DERs, islanded microgrids, and significantly increased data and measurement density. The system supports both the solution of existing and newer algorithms but also enables the evaluation of applications in a realistic operational environment defined by task oriented procedural steps that represent the interaction between the control center operator and field personnel.

Published: February 3, 2023


Anderson A.A., S.V. Vadari, J.L. Barr, S. Poudel, A. Dubey, T.E. McDermott, and R. Podmore. 2022. Introducing the 9500 Node Distribution Test System to Support Advanced Power Applications Richland, WA: Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

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