HYANNIS, Mass. — The federal government may have described the Cape Wind project as a fait accompli, but Ian Parent does not expect to see turbines in the water or run the panini maker at his restaurant with electricity generated in Nantucket Sound any time soon.
“I bet this goes on for another five years,” said Mr. Parent, the owner of La Petite France Café, as he unwrapped cheese behind the counter on Wednesday afternoon.
Word that the federal government had approved a permit on Wednesday for Cape Wind Associates to build a 130-turbine wind farm off the coast here barely caused a ripple in Hyannis, where the installation will be visible from parts of the town, including a popular beach and many houses.
After a nine-year battle over the proposal, most here thought the decision would lead to even more years of litigation and waiting.
“I don’t think it’s over yet,” said Rob MacNamee, 42, a lawyer from Barnstable, Mass. “It’s been going on for how long? All the stickers for and against have washed off the cars, and the signs have blown down.”
The fight has dragged on for so long that many find themselves on both sides of the issue. That is, they now support the development of renewable energy, but just not here.
“I’m 100 percent for alternative energy, but just not in Nantucket Sound,” Mr. Parent said. “There’s no guarantee that the electricity will be cheaper. And once you put those windmills out there you can never take them away.”
Many in Hyannis, where the wind that would one day power the turbines whipped around rain and hail on Wednesday, thought the decision was to be expected from the Obama administration, which has dedicated billions of dollars to alternative energy sources.
Allen Rencurrel, a ship captain, speculated that the administration had deliberately waited until after the death in August of Senator Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts, one of Cape Wind’s biggest opponents, to make its call.
“Now that Teddy’s gone, that’s the only way they got it approved,” Mr. Rencurrel said from the deck of the Seafox, which harvests clams in beds near the site where the turbines would rise.
Mr. Rencurrel said he worried that the turbines would interfere with the routes he takes to some of his clam beds and challenge both experienced captains and recreational boaters.
“I feel sorry for the pleasure boaters out there — they’re inexperienced and are going to be running into these things,” he said.
Yet with unemployment high and affordable housing hard to come by, some here suggest that the construction and operations jobs could well make up for what might be lost in a vista.
“There’s a desperate need for work here,” said Steven Spagnohe, 46, a musician from Hyannis. “There’s a lot of skilled laborers and mechanical people out of work, and this would help.”
Mr. Spagnohe said that people opposed to the project are “old money” who “don’t want to lose tradition” while he sees Cape Wind as a step forward for the country’s energy policy.
“We’re going to get more electricity,” he said. “It’s a great opportunity for the United States, for America and for the Cape.”