Liberty Utilities plans to capture methane from a closed landfill in the town of Bethlehem and use it to provide natural gas to about 6,000 homes.

The company said Thursday, Sept. 27, that it has applied for permission from the Public Utilities Commission to go ahead and if all goes well, the plant would be online by 2019. Bethlehem is just north of Franconia.

Liberty Utilities said the project could supply about 6 percent of the company’s total annual natural gas sales in New Hampshire. It is expected to provide approximately 475,000 dekatherms annually in the first 10 years of operation, all of which will be used to serve customers in New Hampshire. A typical New Hampshire home uses about 78 dekatherms of natural gas per year.

Methane is produced by the breakdown of organic materials in landfills. Burning this gas and using the heat to create electricity has long been part of the region’s renewable energy program. According to ISO-New England, which oversees the regional power grid, landfill gas provides approximately as much New England electricity as solar power.

Methane is a major contributor to the greenhouse effect.

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