This paper concerns how much ocean space would be utilized for a 10MW or 50MW ocean power plant. The most promising emerging technologies from space utilization points-of-view (i.e., power per unit sea area, environmental aspects, navigational aspects, cost, etc.) appear to be distributed subsea systems. A case example for a 10 MW subsea ocean power project would be 20 to 100 individual moored generators, positioned in an array. The units would generate electricity independently but be interconnected to a single transmission/communications infrastructure. Along with the size of the individual moored generators (which are relatively small), the calculation procedure for ocean space utilization takes into account that: (1) there is an optimum positioning for the individual moored units so that the energy extracted from one unit does not interfere with adjacent units; (2) there is a spacing criteria both among the individual units and surrounding the entire array for environmental, operations and maintenance, and navigational issues, and; (3) there is an optimum spacing to minimize electrical transmission and communication infrastructure costs. Several case examples are presented for distributed subsea systems. These examples range from 1 MW pilot scale to 10–100 MW utility scales. It has been calculated that a 10MW distributed subsea ocean power plant would occupy 100 acres of ocean space when taking into account ocean space utilization factors identified above. For larger utility scale facilities, ocean space utilization was calculated to be approximately 50 megawatts per square mile.

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