In addition to renaming Twitter, Elon Musk sometimes finds time to speak about serious topics. In his recent statements, the entrepreneur predicted that US electricity consumption will triple by about 2045, thanks in part to growing demand for battery-powered vehicles. He also warned of power shortages in two years, which could hamper the development of energy-intensive technologies such as artificial intelligence.

Speaking at a conference organized by PG&E (Pacific Gas and Electric Company), one of the largest American utilities, Musk emphasized the need for urgent action.

“You really need to bring the time scale of projects in sooner and have a high sense of urgency,” he told energy company executives. “My biggest concern is that there’s insufficient urgency.”

The U.S. energy industry has already faced challenges trying to keep up with demand, sometimes resorting to threats of rolling blackouts during heatwaves and other spikes in consumption. The transition from old, polluting power plants to renewable energy sources has increased tensions as utilities invest heavily in greener, more sustainable systems. According to Deloitte estimates, by 2030, the largest American electric power companies will spend up to $1.8 trillion on these goals.

Adding to the challenge is the industry’s historical tendency to move slowly, in part because of regulatory restrictions aimed at protecting consumers from price hikes. PG&E expects electricity demand to grow by 70% over the next 20 years, a rate the California-based utility calls unprecedented. Similarly, McKinsey predicts that US demand will double by 2050.

“This is an opportunity of the century for the power sector, and they could blow it if they don’t get it right,” warned Michael Webber, a professor of energy resources at the University of Texas at Austin. He noted that demand is growing not only for electric cars, but also for heat pumps, data centers, artificial intelligence, home devices, etc.

One of Elon Musk’s proposed solutions is to optimize the energy system by operating power plants around the clock and storing unused energy during peak hours in storage batteries for later use. “I’m not sure it might be as much as a 2x gain…but it’s at least 50% to 100% increase in total energy output,” Musk said.