More and more wave energy converter (WEC) concepts are reaching prototypelevel. Once the prototype level is reached, the next step in order to further decrease thelevelized cost of energy (LCOE) is optimizing the overall system with a focus on structuraland maintenance (inspection) costs, as well as on the harvested power from the waves.The target of a fully-developed WEC technology is not maximizing its power output,but minimizing the resulting LCOE. This paper presents a methodology to optimize thestructural design of WECs based on a reliability-based optimization problem and the intentto maximize the investor’s benefits by maximizing the difference between income (e.g., fromselling electricity) and the expected expenses (e.g., structural building costs or failure costs).Furthermore, different development levels, like prototype or commercial devices, may havedifferent main objectives and will be located at different locations, as well as receive varioussubsidies. These points should be accounted for when performing structural optimizationsof WECs. An illustrative example on the gravity-based foundation of the Wavestar deviceis performed showing how structural design can be optimized taking target reliability levelsand different structural failure modes due to extreme loads into account.
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