For the fourth time, the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has ruled that the proposed Cape Wind offshore wind farm poses no risk to air navigation.
"The FAA completed an aeronautical study and has determined that the proposed construction of the 130 wind turbines, individually and as a group, has no effect on aeronautical operations," the agency said in a statement released yesterday.
The finding is the latest in a series of positive rulings the FAA has made about the controversial 468MW project, planned for Nantucket Sound, off the coast of Massachusetts.
Until yesterday, the FAA's most recent no-hazard determination dated back to 2010. It was overturned by a federal appeals court last October, with the court ruling the agency had not adequately assessed whether Cape Wind's turbines might pose a danger to pilots relying on sight rather than a plane's instruments. It ordered the FAA to reassess its approval.
"This is the fourth determination of no hazard Cape Wind has received from the FAA since the agency began its review of the project in 2002. FAA's review and approvals of Cape Wind span back to the Bush Administration," said Mark Rodgers, Cape Wind's communications director, in a statement.
With the FAA approval in place, the project is fully permitted, said Rodgers, who indicated that the developer's focus is now on finalising the project's financing. "Having sold more than three quarters of its power in long-term power purchase agreements with Massachusetts electric utilities, Cape Wind has commenced its project financing stage."
The FAA's approval comes just weeks after two powerful Republican congressmen sought to investigate whether the White House pressured the FAA to green light the project in 2010.