Currently, ocean wave energy is a novel means of electricity generation that is projected to potentially serve as a primary energy source in coastal areas. However, for wave energy converters (WECs) to be applicable on a scale that allows for grid implementation, these devices will need to be placed in close relative proximity to each other. From what’s been learned in the wind industry of the U.S., the placement of these devices will require optimization considering both cost and power. However, current research regarding optimized WEC layouts only considers the power produced. This work explores the development of a genetic algorithm (GA) that will create optimized WEC layouts where the objective function considers both the economics involved in the array’s development as well as the power generated. The WEC optimization algorithm enables the user to either constrain the number of WECs to be included in the array, or allow the algorithm to define this number. To calculate the objective function, potential arrays are evaluated using cost information from Sandia National Labs Reference Model Project, and power development is calculated such that WEC interaction affects are considered. Results are presented for multiple test scenarios and are compared to previous literature, and the implications of a priori system optimization for offshore renewables are discussed.

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