Energy-efficiency advocate likes Romney's record as governor

Callahan highlighted that the energy blueprint Romney put forth last week did not mention energy-efficiency initiatives. And after supporting and adopting fuel economy standards as governor of Massachusetts, he denounced the 54.5 mile-per-gallon mandate finalized Tuesday by President Obama.

Meanwhile, Callahan said Obama has “done a masterful job” with energy efficiency. She praised efforts at the federal level and stimulus programs that boosted advanced manufacturing and “smart grid” technologies at the electric-utility level.

Though Obama has been supportive of energy efficiency, legislation on the subject has met obstacles in Congress because many Republican lawmakers are holding out for broad federal tax code reform. With many energy-efficiency initiatives funded through tax incentives, even largely bipartisan bills have languished this session.

Still, Callahan said it is possible to get energy laws through. Congress passed comprehensive energy laws in 2005 and 2007 that included significant victories for energy-efficiency endeavors, and both were signed by Republican President George W. Bush.

"It can be done," Callahan said. "But it will take a lot of work."

Energy-efficiency success under Bush means a President Romney would not be a death knell for such programs, she said. 

With Romney shifting more toward the center after the primaries, Callahan has held out hope that the GOP presidential nominee’s history will tell much about his future. As Massachusetts’s chief executive, Callahan said, Romney put money into utilities’ electricity demand-cutting initiatives and offered tax incentives for homeowners to make energy-efficiency upgrades. 

“We’re hoping [a President Romney] would be much, much more like when he was governor,” Callahan said.