The U.S. Department of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Water Power Program researches, tests, evaluates and develops innovative technologies capable of generating renewable, environmentally responsible, and cost-effective electricity from water resources.

Marine and Hydrokinetic Technologies
Marine and hydrokinetic technologies convert wave motion; free-flowing ocean, tidal, and river currents; and marine temperature changes into energy. In the United States, marine and hydrokinetic technologies are at an early stage of development but hold significant promise for adding to our nation’s renewable energy portfolio.

Resource Assessment and Characterization
Hydropower already provides 6-8% of the nation’s electricity, and the ocean represents a largely untapped renewable energy resource with potential to provide clean electricity to coastal communities and cities across the United States. The Water Power Program is invested significantly in comprehensive analysis of ocean energy potential for future electricity production.

Water Power Program reports assess the total technically recoverable energy available in the nation’s waves, tidal and river currents, ocean thermal gradients, and non-powered dams. The program plans to release additional program-funded assessments of ocean current and hydropower resources.

Marine and Hydrokinetic Assessment Tools 

With more than half of the nation's entire population living within 50 miles of coastlines, there is a great potential to provide clean, renewable electricity to communities and cities across the United States using MHK technologies. The Water Power Program released several maps and tools that are helping the MHK industry understand how these technologies can capture water power's potential for future electricity production. These include:

  • The MHK Atlas, a project by Electric Power Research Institute, Virginia Tech, and the Energy Department's National Renewable Energy Laboratory, depicts wave energy and ocean thermal resources in the United States. The database will include other ocean energy data sets in the future.
  • Georgia Tech's Assessment of Energy Production from Tidal Streams in the United States highlights the theoretically available energy in the nation's tidal streams.
  • The Assessment of Energy Production from Ocean Currents in the United States, also developed by Georgia Tech, indicates the maximum theoretical power resource contained in the nation's ocean currents.
  • The River Atlas, created by Electric Power Research Institute, University of Alaska-Anchorage, and the Energy Department's National Renewable Energy Laboratory, illustrates the generation potential of rivers in the continental United States. The tool shows both theoretical and technically recoverable potential.

Financial Opportunities
The Water Power Program focuses on technological development and deployment of innovative technologies capable of generating electricity from water. The program funds research and development activities through competitive solicitations. View open opportunities.

More information on U.S. DOE programs:
2013 Water Power Program Brochure
Program Fact Sheet
Marine and Hydrokinetic Factsheet