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Reduced-order dynamic macromodels are an effective way to capture device behavior for rapid circuit and system simulation. In this paper, we report the successful implementation of a methodology for automatically generating reduced-order nonlinear dynamic macromodels from three-dimensional (3-D) physical simulations for the conservative-energy-domain behavior of electrostatically actuated microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) devices. These models are created with a syntax that is directly usable in circuit- and system-level simulators for complete MEMS system design. This method has been applied to several examples of electrostatically actuated microstructures: a suspended clamped beam, with and without residual stress, using both symmetric and asymmetric positions of the actuation electrode, and an elastically supported plate with an eccentric electrode and unequal springs, producing tilting when actuated. When compared to 3-D simulations, this method proves to be accurate for non-stress-stiffened motions, displacements for which the gradient of the strain energy due to bending is much larger than the corresponding gradient of the strain energy due to stretching of the neutral surface. In typical MEMS structures, this corresponds to displacements less than the element thickness, At larger displacements, the method must be modified to account for stress stiffening, which is the subject of part two of this paper.