The Superior Municipal Landfill may be a source of energy for a Minnesota-based company.

The Public Works Committee authorized city staff to sign a letter of intent with Planergy Inc. of St. Paul to begin exploring the possibility of using methane gas from the landfill to generate electricity that would be used by Superior Water, Light and Power.

Planergy was incorporated in Minnesota in 2004.

They use the term “boutique’ and what they do is take on smaller green energy projects that larger companies wouldn’t take on, said Public Works Director Todd Janigo. He said the company has investors and offers carbon credit offsets and green energy for companies that want that in their portfolios, he said.

“This would be a small 1- or 2-kilowatt gas to electric generator,” Janigo said. The company, if it moves ahead with a project, would pay the city for the methane gas it converts into electricity.

Currently, the city flares the methane gas at the landfill and receives carbon credits.

The company has proposed paying 40-50 cents to the city per million British thermal units (BTU), a unit of heat.

“When we did the math, it comes out roughly the same as we’re getting for our carbon credits right now,” said Darienne McNamara, Superior’s environmental regulatory manager.

The letter doesn’t commit the city to entering into an agreement with Planergy, but it does give the company the exclusive right to investigate the purchase of gas rights.

Past exploration of using the methane for energy has proven cost-prohibitive because of the landfill’s remote location, McNamara said.

“I would like to see if it can be done,” said Councilor Esther Dalbec, who has long advocated for using methane generated at the landfill for energy.