Office: Water Power Technologies Office
FOA number: DE-FOA-0002845
Link to apply: Apply on EERE Exchange
FOA Amount: $45 million

On February 6, 2024, the U.S. Department of Energy announced three projects selected through this funding opportunity.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Water Power Technologies Office (WPTO) today released a $45 million funding opportunity to advance a comprehensive approach to tidal and current energy development in the United States. Part of President Biden’s Invest in America Agenda and funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, this opportunity will make the first large-scale investment in a tidal and/or current energy research, development, and demonstration site in the United States. It will also support a community-led tidal and/or current energy planning and development project.

Marine energy technologies, including tidal and current technologies, transform the energy in the natural flow of oceans and rivers into clean electricity. Tidal energy systems harness power from tides, the movement of water created by the moon’s gravitational force, while current energy systems capture power from the directional flow of water. Tides and currents are incredibly predictable, meaning these resources could help balance other sources of renewable energy.

While marine energy technologies are at an early stage of development, total available U.S. marine energy resources are equivalent to nearly 60% of all U.S. power generation in 2019. Even if only a small portion of this technical resource potential is captured, marine energy technologies would make significant contributions to a 100% clean energy grid and help reach President Biden’s goal of achieving a net-zero economy by 2050.

This funding opportunity represents DOE’s largest ever investment in marine energy and WPTO’s largest funding opportunity to date. It will encourage U.S. leadership in tidal and current energy development, while also meeting community energy priorities and developing the sector’s supply chain and workforce.

This funding opportunity—Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, Section 41006(a)(2): U.S. Tidal Energy Advancement—will support projects in two topic areas focused on advancing the tidal and current energy industry toward commercialization for utility- and community-scale applications:

  • Topic area 1 will provide up to $35 million to support the development of a pilot tidal and/or current energy technology demonstration site in state waters.
  • Topic area 2 will provide up to $10 million to support a community-led tidal and/or current energy planning and development project.

The deadlines for concept papers are 5 p.m. ET on June 5, 2023, for topic area 1 and 5 p.m. ET on July 13, 2023, for topic area 2. Applicants must submit a concept paper to be eligible to submit a full application.

Webinar

WPTO will host an informational webinar at 3 p.m. ET on May 30, 2023, to discuss the funding opportunity and areas of focus. Register for the webinar.

Learn more about this funding opportunity and additional opportunities from WPTO.

Topic Areas

Topic Area 1: Tidal and/or Current Site Development

This topic area will provide up to $35 million to support the development of a pilot tidal and/or current technology demonstration site in state waters. Projects will develop plans for a tidal and/or current demonstration site; engage with Tribal, local, state, labor, and regulatory parties; build local commercial and supply chain relationships; develop needed infrastructure at the site; and install 1 to 5 megawatts of tidal and/or current turbine capacity at the site.

A key goal under this topic area is for the project team to perform the research and development activities needed to demonstrate commercial viability, enabling the project to be transitioned into a commercial project that continues operation after the end of this funding opportunity’s period of performance. This will also provide opportunities for further development of the demonstration site into a large (more than 5 megawatts) grid-connected project, jumpstarting the tidal and/or current energy industry in the United States.

WPTO anticipates making up to two awards in this topic area with a down-select to one project after the first budget period (12 months).

Five circles labeled Phase 1 through 5 with a winding path between.

Topic area 1 supports the development of a pilot tidal and/or current technology demonstration site in state waters. This topic area is separated into five development phases.

Graphic by U.S. Department of Energy

Topic Area 2: Community-Led Tidal and/or Current Energy Planning and Project Execution

This topic area will provide up to $10 million to support a community-led tidal and/or current energy planning and development project in the United States. Alongside a project developer, community members will inform the technology design and development process and drive community engagement and education, ensuring appropriate awareness and consideration of the needs and priorities of those directly and indirectly affected. The goal is to create a collaborative partnership between the developer and community to ensure local energy goals align with proposed technologies and to prioritize the reliable installation, operation, and maintenance of technologies in challenging geographies with limited resources.

The development of community-scale tidal solutions in remote communities will provide critical opportunities and feedback to key research and development activities, such as improving the siting and marinization of marine energy systems to understand how they can be deployed in an environmentally responsible way and survive in harsh, highly corrosive, and energetic environments. Furthermore, smaller, decentralized community energy systems are a growing market globally. Developing and deploying tidal and/or current energy systems in remote communities can help establish their performance, lower technology costs, address integration challenges, and ultimately scale up production. This topic area seeks to create more sustainable and resilient energy systems for communities, while also driving innovation and growth in the marine energy industry.

WPTO anticipates making up to two awards in this topic area with a down-select to one project after the first budget period (12 months).

Four connected circles labeled Phase 1 through 4.

Topic area 2 supports a community-led tidal and/or current energy planning and development project in the United States. This topic area is separated into four development phases.

Graphic by U.S. Department of Energy

Key Dates

FOA Issue Date

May 8, 2023

Informational Webinar

3 p.m. ET on May 30, 2023

Topic Area 1: Submission Deadline for Concept Papers

5 p.m. ET on June 5, 2023

Topic Area 1: Submission Deadline for Full Applications 

5 p.m. ET on July 25, 2023

Topic Area 1: Expected Submission Deadline for Replies to Reviewer Comments

5 p.m. ET on Sept. 15, 2023

Topic Area 1: Expected Date for EERE Selection Notifications

November 2023

Topic Area 1: Expected Timeframe for Award Negotiations

November 2023–February 2024

Topic Area 2: Submission Deadline for Concept Papers

5 p.m. ET on July 13, 2023

Topic Area 2: Submission Deadline for Full Applications

5 p.m. ET on Oct. 19, 2023

Topic Area 2: Expected Submission Deadline for Replies to Reviewer Comments

5 p.m. ET on Jan. 19, 2024

Topic Area 2: Expected Date for EERE Selection Notifications

April 2024

Topic Area 2: Expected Timeframe for Award Negotiations

April–June 2024

Learn more about EERE’s funding opportunity application process.

Additional Information