Marine hydrokinetic energy is a promising and growing piece of the renewable energy sector that offers high predictability and additional energy sources for a diversified energy economy. This report investigates the market opportunities for tidal energy along the U.S. coastlines. It is part one of a two-part investigation into the United States' two largest marine hydrokinetic resources (wave and tidal). Tidal energy technology is still an emerging form of renewable energy for which large-scale grid-connected project costs are currently poorly defined. Ideally, device designers would like to know the resource conditions at economical project sites so they can optimize device designs. On the other hand, project developers need detailed device cost data to identify sites where projects are economical. That is, device design and siting are, to some extent, a coupled problem. This work describes a methodology for identifying likely deployment locations based on a set of criteria that tidal energy experts in industry, academia, and national laboratories agree are likely to be important factors for all technology types. Several factors that will affect tidal project costs and siting have not been considered here -- including permitting constraints, conflicting use, seasonal resource variability, extreme event likelihood, and distance to ports -- because consistent data are unavailable or technology-independent scoring could not be identified. As the industry continues to mature and converge around a subset of device archetypes with well-defined costs, more precise investigations of project siting that include these factors will be possible. For now, these results provide a high-level guide pointing to the regions where markets and resource will one day support commercial tidal energy projects.