The Marine Energy Array Demonstrator project is meant to support two test projects that will demonstrate the operations of a tidal or wave array. Bidders compete for a share of $31.7 million in funding to help develop the marine energy sector.
The British Department of Energy and Climate Change estimates that wave or tidal power could provide up to 20 percent of current electricity demand.
"This scheme will help move marine power to the next stage of development, the demonstration of a number of wave and tidal devices in array formation out at sea," Energy and Climate Change Minister Greg Barker said in a statement.
"This will take us one vital step closer to realizing our ambitions of generating electricity from the waves and tides, powering homes and businesses across the whole of the U.K. with clean, green electricity."
The DECC said it would judge applicants to the MEAD program based on their ability to generate at least 7 gigawatts of energy per use. Projects need to be running by March 2016, the government said.
The British government said it would announce winning bids by the end of the year.