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Automating PowerWorld with Python

Course Director: Tom Overbye


Automation capabilities of modern power systems software allow efficient scaling-up and customizing of analysis and planning studies to multiply the value of engineers’ time. The purpose of this short course is to provide an introduction to the Python programming language suitable for automating the functionality of PowerWorld Simulator.  PowerWorld’s multiple features enabling automation include a text-based data and scripting language and a common object model (COM) server, SimAuto, which provides access to almost all functions and data of the program.  The course will include hands-on experience, guided towards developing experience with Python basics necessary for interacting with SimAuto, passing data between PowerWorld Simulator and Python, and automating power system simulations with Python and SimAuto.  (Hours: CEU 1.8, PDH 18)

Who Should Attend

This 2.5 day course is designed to provide introductory coverage of using the Python programming language suitable for automating power system studies in PowerWorld. It is ideally suited for electrical engineers who work in electric grid planning or operations, for those involved in energy trading activities, and for new graduates who would like to rapidly gain experience with automating PowerWorld studies through PowerWorld scripting capabilities and Python. The course will also be useful for researchers in the electric power area, including academics and graduate students, who are interested in automating and customizing their research studies with Python and PowerWorld. Some prior knowledge of PowerWorld software and some computer programming skills are recommended; however, the course is designed for those who do not necessarily have prior experience with Python specifically or of advanced PowerWorld features like SimAuto.

List of Topics

  • Introduction to Python including installation, basic syntax, and key data structures
  • Setting up the PowerWorld automation server SimAuto and exploring object types
  • Passing data between PowerWorld and Python code with SimAuto
  • Data structures in PowerWorld Simulator: the Model Explorer, Case Information Displays, objects, variables, and filtering
  • Scripting and exchanging data with PowerWorld using auxiliary text files
  • Automating power system simulations with SimAuto and Python
  • Exploring Python functionality for developing user interface, plotting, and reading and writing text files


Tom Overbye is a TEES Eminent Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Texas A&M University (TAMU).  He received his BS, MS, and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  Before starting his academic career he was employed with Madison Gas and Electric Company, working in their planning and operations departments.  He is the original developer of PowerWorld Simulator (a widely used power system planning tool), a co-founder of PowerWorld Corporation, and an author of a widely used Power System Analysis and Design book.  He is a recipient of the IEEE Power and Energy Society Outstanding Power Engineering Educator Award, an EEE Fellow, a member of the US National Academy of Engineering, and was responsible for the initial development of dynamics analysis in PowerWorld Simulator.

Caroline Marzinzik is a Software Engineer and Senior Consultant at PowerWorld Corporation.  She received BS and MS degrees in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1994 and 1996.  She has been employed at PowerWorld Corporation since 2004 where her duties include software development, customer support, and software training for the PowerWorld Simulator power system analysis tool.  Caroline started her career in power systems at Mid-America Interconnected Network, Inc. (MAIN), a former NERC reliability region, where she was employed from 1996 to 2004.  While at MAIN she contributed to the development and maintenance of MAIN’s regional Available Transfer Capability (ATC) calculation process and performed seasonal transmission assessment studies.

Thomas Nicol is a Software Engineer and Senior Consultant at PowerWorld Corporation. He received his BS in Computer Engineering from Taylor University in 2009, and began work at PowerWorld as a student intern while pursuing his MS in Electrical Engineering from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, which he completed in 2011. His focus at PowerWorld includes Distributed Computing, SimAuto, and the Scheduled Actions tool.


Location: Texas A&M Center for Infrastructure Renewal (CIR), 1041 RELLIS Parkway, Bryan TX
Directions & map: CIR Directions

Air Transportation:
Direct flights available at the Texas A&M Easterwood Airport (CLL) from Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) on American and Houston (IAH) on United.
Other airports within driving distance: Austin (AUS) and Houston (IAH), both about two hours away
May rent car or use shuttle service: Airport Ground Shuttle 

Cost: $1400

For More Information

  • For more information about this course, or other upcoming Texas A&M electric power short courses contact Tom Overbye at [email protected]