The exercise will see the two scope out areas around the English and Welsh coastline for their potential to host wave, tidal-stream and tidal-range technologies.
The screening exercise will build on data already gathered for the Offshore Energy Strategic Environment Assessment (SEA), the Welsh Marine Energy Strategic Plan and other studies.
The department also plans to seek input from developers, utilities and other relevant bodies about their plans and preferred locations for developing commercial-scale marine-energy farms.
This work only covers England and Wales as the Scottish government has already produced a preliminary SEA for marine energy in Scotland.
Northern Ireland has also recently announced the appointment of consultants to undertake a SEA of offshore wind and marine renewables in Northern Irish waters.