Published 9:40 pm Wednesday, August 15, 2012

An impending deal between the city and SunEnergy1 bodes well for the city.
Once the deal is given final approval by the City Council, Washington stands to benefit in at least three ways — a steady rental income of $22,689 a year for 15 years for use of 75 acres at Warren Field Airport, the creation of about 35 to 40 jobs and property-tax revenue from whatever SunEnergy1 builds on the land. That’s good news considering the airport has not been profitable for the city.
City Manager Josh Kay, who’s been polishing a business plan he developed for the airport, has high hopes for the project.
“Should this economic-development project become a reality, it would be upward of a $50-million investment at the airport and could create up to 35 to 40 new jobs in the future. So, I’m excited about it,” Kay said Monday when the council adopted a resolution of intent to lease the property to SunEnergy1, which is based in Mooresville.
By using solar-energy projects as an alternative to using fossil fuels to generate electricity, SunEnergy1 is helping cut down on carbon emissions. A SunEnergy1 project in Plymouth, once completed, will offset 9,900 less metric tons of carbon emissions a year. It also will produce enough energy to power 1,200 homes, according to the company’s website.
A project that generates revenue for the city and helps protect the environment is a good form of economic development. The city should pursue other such projects if the benefits are there.