Noting the growing global demand for new sources of energy, Congress tailored the Energy Policy Act of 1992 (EPAct) to make U.S. public utility holding companies more competitive abroad. First, it eased the Securities and Exchange Commission review of U.S. investment in foreign energy facilities. Second, it sought to expand U.S. participation in foreign energy-related projects to include U.S. technology as well as investment dollars. In that regard, Congress structured EPAct to offer financial assistance for "design, construction, testing, and operation" of projects in foreign countries that use renewable, environmental, and clean-coal technologies manufactured in the United States. These environmental energy technology programs are intended to foster a new industry and help it compete globally.
Public utility holding companies can take advantage of the new rules under EPAct through intrasystem arrangements between associate companies. One associate company invests in a foreign exempt wholesale generator (EWG) or a foreign utility company (FUCO); the other manufactures environmental energy technology. The technology associate then transfers (that is, exports) the technology to the foreign EWG or FUCO. Although the intrasystem arrangement raises a number of regulatory wrinkles, the trouble of ironing them out might be well worth the effort for holding company associate companies.