As early as 1930, Warburg discovered that metabolic alterations were associated with carcinogenesis and that cancer cells fermented even in the presence of oxygen using glycolysis to fulfill their energy needs, though less efficiently than with respiration. The kidney requiring a very active energy production for its pumping functions has a high mitochondrial activity. Kidney tumors can exist either in relatively benign forms, as for example, in oncocytomas that are crowded with mitochondria or in very aggressive forms such as in clear cell renal carcinomas that exhibit strongly down-regulated mitochondrial activities. These carcinomas can produce metastases that are resistant to anti-mitotic drugs and current treatments only delay the fatal issue. In this review, the mitochondrial alterations observed in various forms of renal tumors will be discussed with the aim of understanding how the knowledge of mitochondrial impairment mechanisms could be helpful to develop new anti-cancer strategies.