The U.S. Department of Energy recently announced it will invest $16 million to fund 17 projects that will help sustainably and efficiently capture energy from waves, tides, and currents. Together, these projects will increase the power production and reliability of wave and tidal devices and help gather valuable data on how deployed devices interact with the surrounding environment.

"Wave and tidal energy represent a large, untapped resource for the United States, and responsible development of this clean, renewable energy source is an important part of our all-of-the-above energy strategy," said Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy David Danielson.

Tidal and wave energy is a clean, renewable resource that can be harnessed wherever changing tides, waves, or currents move a significant volume of water — such as in locations off the coasts of many U.S. cities where there is high electricity demand. Watch a video to see how marine and hydrokinetic technologies harness the energy of the ocean's waves, tides, and currents and convert it into electricity to power our homes, buildings and cities.

The Department's latest assessments identify up to 1,400 terawatt hours of potential generation for this type of renewable energy per year. One terawatt-hour of electricity is enough to power 85,000 homes, and developing a small fraction of the available wave and tidal energy resource could power millions of American homes.

According to the Energy Department report, approximately $13.5 million will be earmarked for eight projects to help U.S. companies build durable, efficient wave and tidal devices that reduce overall costs and maximize the amount of energy captured. The projects will develop new drive train, generator, and structural components as well as develop software that predicts ocean conditions and adjusts device settings accordingly to optimize power production. Another $2.4 million will go toward nine projects that will gather and analyze environmental data from wave and tidal projects as well as potential development areas. As this nascent energy industry grows, these projects will help ensure that potential environmental impacts are addressed proactively and that projects can be developed efficiently and responsibly.

For more information on the Energy Department's efforts to grow America's water energy sector, visit the department's website.