Eight companies have been invited to submit formal proposals on how they might convert the vast reservoirs of trash piling into the Tajiguas Landfill – at a rate of 220,000 tons a year – into methane, electricity, and compost. The deal is part of a joint effort initiated last year by both the City and the County of Santa Barbara to extend the effective lifespan of Tajiguas-which will reach its capacity in 12 years-and produce green energy for local consumption. The eight semi-finalists represent three competing technologies, and all would nearly double the landfill’s current tipping fee of $60 a ton in order to cover the cost of producing energy. Some applicants claim they could divert from 85 to 100 percent of the refuse now entering the landfill. City and county trash engineers are hoping to entice Goleta and Solvang into the effort to defray costs. City bean counters estimate they and the county will incur nearly $300,000 in planning and legal costs – to be split – by the time the bids are finally submitted.