Though the Chinese government has been supporting research on marine renewable energy development and utilization technology since the 1960s, with today’s depleted fossil energy reserves and the threat of climate change, it has never been more important to develop and utilize alternative forms of energy.
In 2000, the Chinese government strengthened support for clean energy from the ocean, setting a goal to develop and use marine renewable energy within the next decade. The government also formulated a renewable energy law and development plan, and China’s Ministry of Science and Technology said it considered technical research on marine renewable energy one of the key areas for support. One type of marine renewable energy that has been of particular interest to China is tidal power. Some preliminary studies have been done to determine the theoretic average tidal current power of these marine areas. One hundred and thirty channels in China have been studied, with results suggesting the theoretical average tidal current power of these channels is about 14 gigawatts. Chinese academic institutions are developing new designs to harness China's vast tidal energy resources.