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The Advanced Distribution Management System (ADMS) Program was established in FY2016 within the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability (OE) Advanced Grid Research division. The mission of the ADMS Program is to explore a new approach to the management and control of utility distribution grids. This will be accomplished through the development of an open-source, open-standards based distribution system application platform. This platform, which is analogous to an operating system of a smart phone, will enable the integration of current and future distribution data across the utility’s enterprise, completely independent of a product or device vendor, enabling new functionality and capabilities, while allowing for safe and reliable operation of distribution grids at a lower cost.

The open-source approach for system wide management and control is a completely different approach to the closed, proprietary systems used today and has never been pursued. As in other industries, the open-source approach will foster competition among existing vendors, encourage new market entrants, spur innovation, lower the cost of deployment, and expand the customer base.

More information about the ADM Program can be found in the ADMS Multi-Year Program Plan.

Program Goals and Structure

The ADMS Program goal is that by 2030, electric distribution grid management systems will be transformed from proprietary, vendor specific products to systems based on an open architecture and standards-based data exchange that will enable the integration and management of all assets and functions across the utility enterprise regardless of vendor or technology.

Program activities are organized into the following four areas:

  • Open Source Distribution Applications Platform
    Develop an open-source application development platform to facilitate the creation of distribution system applications, integrate such applications into operational systems, provide a testing and evaluation framework to quantify the benefits of the applications, and provide an extensible development environment that is open-source and accessible to all industry stakeholders.
  • ADMS Testbed
    Build a comprehensive ADMS testbed to test existing ADMS functionalities from multiple vendors that span multiple utility management and data collection systems. This testbed will be used for testing of ADMS solutions with multiple legacy and advanced systems and for testing use cases to enable utilities to evaluate the full benefits of ADMS applications.
  • ADMS Applications
    Develop a suite of ADMS applications, based on the open source platform approach, that facilitate integration of high levels of distributed renewables, improve operational visibility, increase reliability and resiliency, reduce infrastructure upgrade costs, facilitate transmission support services, enhance power quality, enable microgrid coordination, and reduce energy costs, all while maintaining personnel and customer safety.
  • Industry Engagement and Crosscut Activities
    Address industry identified issues and crosscutting technical challenges to enable advanced distribution functionality. These activities, in part, include advanced control theory to enable the design and analysis of control algorithms for at least 10,000 DERs embedded in distribution and transmission networks; date privacy related to the protecting and sharing of customer energy usage data; and best practices to managing intermittence at distribution voltages.

ADMS Projects

Advanced Distribution Management System Testbed Development

This project will establish a national, vendor-neutral Advanced Distribution Management System testbed to accelerate industry development and adoption of ADMS capabilities for the next decade and beyond. The testbed will provide a less-expensive and lower-risk alternative to a pilot deployment, plus the ability to stimulate contingency scenarios that are not practical to test using a real distribution system.

Project Summary     Presentation

Community Control of Distributed Resource for Wide Area Reserve Provision

The goal of this project is to develop and demonstrate an advanced distribution management system that allows DERs to improve distribution system operations and simultaneously contribute to transmission-level services. The project outcomes will be interoperable, validated open-source protocols that facilitate this vision.

Project Summary     Presentation

Development of an Open-Source Platform for Advanced System Management (GridAPP-D)

The goal of this project is to develop a standards-based, open-source platform that will be used to support the development of advanced distribution system planning and operations applications. The project will also validate the benefits of advanced applications and then to transition the open-source reference software to the electric power industry.

Project Summary     Presentation

Multi-Scale Integration of Control Systems

The goal of this project is to create an integrated grid management framework that includes:

  • Development of an open framework to coordinate Energy Management Systems (EMS), Distribution Management Systems (DMS) and Building Management Systems (BMS);
  • Demonstration of the new framework on a use case at a national laboratory;
  • Deployment and demonstration of new operations applications that transform or extend existing EMS and DMS applications.

Project Summary     Presentation

Develop Control Theory and Methods

This project team will develop new integrated optimization and control solutions and deployment strategies that will enable the U.S. electric power grid to:

  • Transition to a state where high penetrations of distributed energy resources are participating in grid control,
  • Operate with lean reserve margins,
  • Utilize resilient distribution feeders with high percentage of low-carbon distributed generation resources.


The Department of Energy's Office of Electricity (OE) recognizes that our nation's sustained economic prosperity, quality of life, and global competitiveness depends on an abundance of secure, reliable, and affordable energy resources. OE leads the Department of Energy's efforts to ensure a resilient, and flexible electricity system in the United States. Learn more about OE >>

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