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Future commercial installation of wave energy plants using point absorber technology will require clusters of tens up to several hundred devices, in order to reach a viable electricity production. Interconnected devices also serve the purpose of power smoothing, which is especially important for devices using direct-driven power take off. The scope of this paper is to evaluate a method to optimize wave energy farms in terms of power production, economic viability, and resources. In particular, the paper deals with the power variation in a large array of point-absorbing direct-driven wave energy converters, and the smoothing effect due to the number of devices and their hydrodynamic interactions. A few array geometries are compared and 34 sea states measured at the Lysekil research site at the Swedish west coast are used in the simulations. Potential linear flow theory is used with full hydrodynamic interactions between the buoys. It is shown that the variance in power production depends crucially on the geometry of the array and the number of interacting devices, but not significantly on the energy period of the waves.


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