Seabed rights have been secured for five potential wave and tidal energy schemes in UK waters.
The Crown Estate agreement also paves the way for six demonstration zones.
Statutory consultation periods and planning consents are required before any development on the sites can take place.
Energy minister Greg Barker said: “Today’s announcement is a great step for the development of wave and tidal stream industries.
“Wave and tidal stream are growing green, clean energy sources which have the potential to sustain thousands of jobs in a sector worth, from exports alone, a possible £4bn per annum by 2050.”
Two of the project sites are in Scotland, one each in Northern Ireland and Wales, and the other in Dorset.