This year’s Fortune Brainstorm E, our energy, tech, and sustainability conference in Austin was incredible. Below, its co-chairs offer their picks.
On the zero-carbon economy
Shell chairman Chad Holliday made news at Brainstorm E, held Sept. 28 and 29, by announcing the creation of a new commission to help the U.S. move to a zero-carbon economy. Why would one of the world’s largest oil and gas companies want to decarbonize? Holliday argued that the U.S. needs to find ways to provide energy to a growing global population without damaging the environment beyond repair: “Shell believes society needs to be net zero carbon by the end of this century.”
He also stressed that fossil fuels will remain part of the mix with the help of, say, carbon-capture technologies. The new Energy Transitions Commission, whose members include Statoil (STOHF), Dow Chemical (DOW), and GE (GE), will act, he said, as a trusted source of information for leaders trying to make their countries and companies more sustainable. —Brian Dumaine
On clean-tech investing
Americans ‘heart’ solar. electric-vehicle sales are going up. The timing is right to make new investments.
—Nancy Pfund, Founder and managing partner of DBL Partners
On next-gen battery tech
For the owner of a vehicle made by Tesla Motors (TSLA), it’s hard to think about the fact that your futuristic car could become obsolete. But that’s exactly what happened in the minds of audience members when Sakti3 CEO Ann Marie Sastry took to the Brainstorm E stage to talk about her company’s new solid-state battery, which promises to double a car’s range for a lower cost than a standard (liquid) lithium-ion model. Tesla owners shouldn’t fret too much, though. Sakti3’s next-generation batteries will take years to land in electric cars, and the startup must rely on Tesla to spark electric-car adoption. In the meantime, look out for Sakti3’s technology in future models of Dyson vacuums. —Katie Fehrenbacher
On a big retailer’s bigger goals
In September, Walmart (WMT) said it would purchase 58% of the output of Pattern Energy Group’s (PEGI) new 200-megawatt wind facility in Texas. It’s a huge step toward the retailer’s long-term sustainability goals, even as it tackles short-term performance issues. “We have to be able to walk and chew gum,” said Dan Bartlett, head of corporate affairs, on the first day of Brainstorm E. —Brian O’Keefe
Miss this year’s conference? Watch the highlights at fortune.com/brainstorme.
A version of this article appears in the November 1, 2015 issue of Fortune with the headline “Brainstorm E Special.”