In 1964 in his Ph.D. thesis (Technical University of Munich), Hermann Dommel used nodal analysis with the companion circuit model and the constant-parameter transmission line model, to simulate electromagnetic transients. The companion circuit model used the trapezoidal integration rule. At that time Bonneville Power Administration also started to develop a computer software for studying switching overvoltages for insulation coordination. In 1966 Hermann Dommel was invited to BPA from Germany to work on the development of a software named Electromagnetic Transients Program (EMTP). The EMTP development was part of a project for the development of load-flow and stability analysis software at BPA. This project was directed by W. F. Tinney whose fundamental contributions to the solution of sparse matrices enabled EMTP and other packages to simulate large power systems.
In 1973 H. Dommel left BPA to become a professor at University of British Columbia. The development of EMTP was then taken over and significantly accelerated by W. S. Meyer. W. S. Meyer collaborated with various researchers/experts including A. Ametani, V. Brandwajn, L. Dubé, J. R. Marti, A. Semlyen and others. In 1981, the Development Coordination Group (DCG) of EMTP was proposed and formed by BPA in which H. Dommel maintained his participation. Over the following years, several organizations became members of DCG-EMTP to contribute research, development and field tests. The list included: ABB, AEP, CEA, CRIEPI, EDF, EPRI, Hydro-Quebec, Ontario-Hydro, US Bureau of Reclamation, Western Area Power Administration. EPRI joined the DCG in 1983. In 1984 BPA left the DCG and W. S. Meyer continued developing with the existing EMTP code under the new name ATP.
The DCG pursued the development of EMTP with its members. Several full versions were released on mainframe computers and later Unix workstations. The development work was continued mainly by V. Brandwajn, J. Mahseredjian and L. Marti. In 1992, J. Mahseredjian, then working at IREQ (Hydro-Quebec) converted the EMTP code to work on OS/2, Windows 3.1 and Windows 3.11. The first Windows EMTP PC version was commercialized by Hydro-One. In 1996 a major EMTP version was released on Windows 95. At that time it became acknowledged and urgent in the DCG to modernize the EMTP code and improve its numerical methods.
In 1996 J. Mahseredjian proposed to the DCG to abandon the old EMTP code and to rewrite it from scratch using modern programming languages, and latest numerical methods. His demonstrations and prototypes triggered the EMTP recoding (restructuring) project. The EMTP recoding project started in 1998 by J. Mahseredjian. J. Mahseredjian worked later with a small team of developers, including mainly S. Dennetière, C. Dewhurst and L. Dubé, to deliver the new EMTP®, in 2003. It was then released under the version named EMTP-RV, RV meaning restructured version. Currently only the actual name EMTP® must be used. This new EMTP® code introduced several major improvements in graphical user interface, programming practices and numerical methods.
In 2004, J. Mahseredjian left IREQ to become a professor at Polytechnique Montréal. The DCG has been dismantled some time after the release of EMTP. Currently the EMTP is controlled by EDF, Hydro-Quebec and RTE. It is developed and maintained by the team of J. Mahseredjian inside the EMTP Alliance.