Iowa's overall energy demand grew 27.2 percent between 2000 and 2013, even though the demand nationally fell, a state consultant said Monday.

Simon Tripp of TEConomy Partners LLC, who is working on the state's new energy plan, said that while Iowa gets far more of its energy from wind than it used to, Iowa's drop in coal use has been smaller than the national trend toward shifting away from coal. Consultants are projecting Iowa's energy needs as part of the work.

Biodiesel, ethanol and wind power are sitting in the "sweet spot" for economic development, Tripp added. And energy jobs paid an average of $73,000, compared with $41,000 for other private jobs in Iowa.

State officials announced today that Iowa generates over 31 percent of its energy from wind and is the first state to exceed 30 percent.

Much of the growth in electricity use has come in the industrial sector, Tripp said.

Iowa is importing energy, consuming 1.5 trillion British thermal units a year while producing 730 trillion, Tripp said.

There are plenty of good signs, he added.

"Increasing energy production in Iowa enhances the balance of trade," and energy efficiency helps too, Tripp said. Renewable energy is helping Iowa improve its standing.

The state task force plans six public meetings around the state in March and April; details are pending. You can get agendas and meeting details online,where you can also submit comments. You also can email energyplan@iowa.gov.