It sounds like it could be a joke but to city leaders there's nothing funny about the proposal. The City of Superior is looking at the potential of selling off the gas that gets generated at the Municipal Landfill to an energy company for use and profit.

And their intent to move forward with the plan is pretty serious - enough to have entered into a letter of intent with an energy company to develop an exploratory relationship.

The details are shared in an article in the Superior Telegram. On April 6, the City of Superior Public Works Department signed that letter of intent with a California-based energy company called Vespene Energy Inc. In the letter, they spell out their intent to:

"....[E]xplore the possibility of utilizing gases generated at the landfill to convert into energy for custom-designed, self-sustaining microgrids used for online data processing or cryptocurrency mining."

If the plan ends up coming to fruition, it would be a unique one. And, it would solve one of the major problems the city has had in the past with trying similar projects.

The Superior Municipal Landfill is remotely located - "more than a mile from the nearest gas pipeline or shared power line, making it very expensive to get energy to users".  This proposal would bring the eventual end-user to the landfill site.

Superior, WI water tower
Nick Cooper - TSM Duluth

If approved by the Superior City Council, the plan would see Vespene Energy bring their crypto-mining operation to the landfill - something that they've done elsewhere:

"The company makes money from online data processing and crypto-currency mining and would use energy generated on the landfill site to continue that work."

And, as part of their research, City councilors learned that crypto0-currency mining requires "a lot of energy".

Right now, the city burns off the methane gas that's generated on site by flaring.  In return, Superior earns carbon credits.

Next action will be by the Superior City Council at their meeting on April 18. That's when they'll vote to approve and move forward with the letter of intent or not.

Blue flames of a gas burner inside of a boiler

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