Alpha intercalated cells (αICs) in the kidney collecting duct (CD) belong to a family of mitochondria rich cells (MRCs) and have a crucial role in acidifying the urine via apical V-ATPase pumps. The nature of metabolism in αICs and its relationship to transport was not well-understood. Here, using multiphoton live cell imaging in mouse kidney tissue, FIB-SEM, and other complementary techniques, we provide new insights into mitochondrial structure and function in αICs. We show that αIC mitochondria have a rounded structure and are not located in close proximity to V-ATPase containing vesicles. They display a bright NAD(P)H fluorescence signal and low uptake of voltage-dependent dyes, but are energized by a pH gradient. However, expression of complex V (ATP synthase) is relatively low in αICs, even when stimulated by metabolic acidosis. In contrast, anaerobic glycolytic capacity is surprisingly high, and sufficient to maintain intracellular calcium homeostasis in the presence of complete aerobic inhibition. Moreover, glycolysis is essential for V-ATPase-mediated proton pumping. Key findings were replicated in narrow/clear cells in the epididymis, also part of the MRC family. In summary, using a range of cutting-edge techniques to investigate αIC metabolism in situ, we have discovered that these mitochondria dense cells have a high glycolytic capacity.