May 1 (UPI) -- More than $20 million could be available to help make marine energy technology cheaper to develop and quicker to deploy, the U.S. government said.
The U.S. Energy Department's renewables division said up to $23 million in funding is available for marine energy devices.
"Marine energy is the newest frontier where we can unleash American innovation to produce more energy more affordably," U.S. Undersecretary of Energy Mark Menezes said in a statement.
Two years ago, the U.S. Energy Department estimated tidal streams in the country could generate as much as 330 terawatt-hours of power per year, noting about 90,000 average households could get by on 1 TWh per year.
A wave energy prototype dubbed Azura is already deployed at a test site at Kaneohe Bay off the coast of Oahu, Hawaii. Developer Northwest Energy Innovations, with help from a $5 million federal grant, tested an earlier prototype off the coast of Oregon in 2014.
The Energy Department said some of the funding available could help finance pre-commercial and prototype wave and tidal systems.
With a substantial portion of the U.S. population living within 50 miles of a coastline, the government under former President Barack Obama said marine and hydrokinetic technologies could help exploit an untapped renewable energy resource.
U.S. President Donald Trump has been vocal supporter of the oil and gas industry, though some renewable efforts have advanced beneath the headlines. Three times last month, the Trump administration's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management proposed offshore wind energy developments in the U.S. waters of the Atlantic Ocean.
The same agency, however, faced backlash for proposed oil and gas work in an Alaskan wilderness area.