Institute for Energy Research

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Institute for Energy Research
Formation 1989
Founder Robert L. Bradley, Jr.
Founded at Houston, Texas
Type Nonprofit public policy research
Richard L. Stroup, Steven F. Hayward

The Institute for Energy Research (IER), is a Washington, D.C.-based non-profit organization that conducts research and analysis on the functions, operations, and government regulation of global energy markets.[1] IER maintains that the free-market provides the most inexpensive solutions to global energy and environmental challenges.[1]


IER was founded in 1989 by Robert L. Bradley Jr. in Houston, Texas. IER began by distributing quarterly reports to a small but growing list of donors in the early 1990s and eventually expanded its publishing capabilities to include highly publicized studies. It was not until 2001 when Bradley, who previously worked as Enron’s public policy analysis director, secured funding to make IER a full-time organization. In 2007, IER was moved to Washington, D.C. where it transformed itself into an energy think tank producing research and analysis on global energy markets.[2]


The Institute's CEO and founder, Robert L. Bradley, is a visiting fellow at the Institute of Economic Affairs in London, a research fellow at the Center for Energy Economics at the University of Texas at Austin, and an adjunct scholar at both the Cato Institute and the Competitive Enterprise Institute.[3][4] He has written seven books, including Capitalism at Work and Edison to Enron,[5] and he maintains the website Political Capitalism.[6]

Bradley wrote an article published by Competitive Enterprise Institute, entitled "Heated Debate"[7] to respond to a negative review by Harvard Professor John P. Holdren of the 2001 book The Skeptical Environmentalist by Bjørn Lomborg. Lomberg was inspired to write his book after he read an article entitled "The Doomslayer"[8] profiling Julian L. Simon. Lomberg was honored in 2003 with the libertarian Competitive Enterprise Institute's Julian L. Simon award. The award was given to Robert L. Bradley in 2002 and more recently in 2012 to Matt Ridley, who is also skeptical about climate change.[9]


IER is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization and is funded entirely by tax deductible contributions from individuals, foundations and corporations.[1][10] IER has received funding from the Brown Foundation (started by founders of a construction and energy company), the Searle Freedom Trust and the Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation.[11] They have also previously received funding from ExxonMobil[12] and from the American Petroleum Institute.[13] IER says that it has not sought for or accepted financial support from the government.[1]


Although the IAR presents itself as an objective science-based institute, many reports and watchdog organizations have disputed this, citing funding from oil industry companies and describing IAR's work as ignoring science and focusing on its right wing agenda.[14] In 2009, an article in Mother Jones magazine said IER was among the most prominent organizations promulgating climate disinformation.[15]

The institute is considered a front group for the fossil fuel industry. [16]

American Energy Alliance[edit]

The Institute for Energy Research has a political arm, the American Energy Alliance (AEA). According to its website, the AEA engages in "grassroots public policy advocacy and debate" regarding energy and environmental policies.[17]

In 2012, Kenneth Vogel reported that unnamed sources told Politico that both the IEA and the AEA were partially funded by the Koch brothers and their donor network.[18][better source needed]

In 2013, AEA provided an online petition to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry regarding the U.S. federal government administration's approval of the Keystone XL pipeline extension. AEA supports approval of the pipeline.[19]

The AEA opposes a Wind Production Tax Credit. [20]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "About Us". Institute for Energy Research. Retrieved 4 December 2015. 
  2. ^ "Conservative Spotlight: Institute for Energy Research". Human Events. 
  3. ^ "Robert L. Bradley, Jr., Author at IER". IER. 
  4. ^ Cato Institute: Robert L. Bradley, Jr.
  5. ^ Institute for Energy: Staff.
  6. ^ "Political Capitalism". 
  7. ^ Bradley, Jr., Robert L. "The Heated Energy Debate: Assessing John Holdren's Attack on Bjørn Lomborg's The Skeptical Environmentalist" (PDF). Institute for Energy Research: 46. 
  8. ^ Regis, Ed (February 1997). "The Doomslayer". Wired (Issue 5.02). Archived from the original on 2008-05-18. Retrieved 2008-05-18. 
  9. ^ Lomborg, Bjørn (September 2001). The Skeptical Environmentalist: Measuring the True State of the World. Cambridge University Press. pp. 515 pages. 
  10. ^
  11. ^ Evans, Will (September 22, 2008). "New Group Tied To Oil Industry Runs Ads Promoting Drilling, Attacking Democrat". National Public Radio. Retrieved March 18, 2015. 
  12. ^ Erman, Michael (23 May 2008). "Exxon again cuts funds for climate change skeptics". Reuters. 
  13. ^ American Petroleum Institute, Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax, 2010.[1]
  14. ^;;;
  15. ^ Harkinson, Josh (December 4, 2009). "The Dirty Dozen of Climate Change Denial". Mother Jones. Retrieved September 30, 2015. 
  16. ^ Goldenberg, Suzanne; Bengtsson, Helena (June 13, 2016). "Biggest US coal company funded dozens of groups questioning climate change". The Guardian. Retrieved 28 June 2016. 
  17. ^ "About". American Energy Alliance. 
  18. ^ Vogel, Kenneth (March 29, 2012). "Kochs linked to anti-Obama gas ads". Politico. Retrieved 4 December 2015. 
  19. ^ "American Energy Alliance Homepage". The American Energy Alliance. Retrieved 12 April 2013. 
  20. ^ Restuccia, Andrew (13 November 2012). "Fans, foes at war over wind tax credit extension". 

External links[edit]