The department said said it believes the process could generate as much as 1,400 terawatt hours of electricity. It estimates 1 terrawatt hour is enough to meet the energy needs of 85,000 homes.
Assistant Secretary for Renewable Energy David Danielson said the government was backing more than a dozen projects, with a combined $16 million.
"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," Danielson said in a statement Thursday.
Notable deaths of 2014 [PHOTOS]