After years of opposition from local residents, an offshore wind farm in Cape Cod is finally moving forward. The last challenge was overcome on Wednesday, when the Federal Aviation Administration said the Cape Wind project would not interfere with air traffic navigation.

The Cape Wind project will have 130 wind turbines, and is expected to produce 174 megawatts of electricity on average — almost 75 percent of the electricity demand for Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket. It’s expected to substantially lower electricity bills in the area. The wind farm will also create up to 1,000 jobs during construction, and 150 permanent jobs.

Though it will be more than six miles from the nearest beach on Cape Cod, and the wind turbines will appear just one half-inch above the horizon from that point, residents have been concerned about the appearance of the project. Another lawsuit from local fishermen, concerned about the wind farm’s impacts to navigation, was eventually dropped.

Residents have also argued that the wind farm will harm wildlife, particularly birds. Now, though, wildlife experts like Mass Audubon have given their support to the project. Mass Audubon reports that after nine years of data analysis, they have concluded the project will not pose an ecologically significant threat to birds and other wildlife in the area.

Critics also argued that the 440-foot wind turbines would pose a danger to pilots. The FAA ruled that the project can go forward, but is requiring lights on the towers and the use of specific paint colors.

The next step for the project will be final financing. Once underway, the wind farm will take two years to complete.

Main photo credit: Laura Padgett/Flickr