Smart Energy Voices- Episode 87

Smart Energy Voices- Episode 87

Leadership, Renewables and Water Conservation

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In this episode of Smart Energy Voices, host Debra Chanil talks with Alise Porto, SVP of Sustainability and Strategic Initiatives at Switch and two-time winner of SED’s WISE (Women in Smart Energy) Award. They discuss how Switch has driven sustainability through innovative water conservation and renewable energy initiatives.


You will want to hear this episode if you are interested in...

  • Alise’s journey to Switch [02:28]
  • The Regional Water Improvement Pipeline [04:10]
  • Switch’s ESG strategy [08:20]
  • Advice for women in sustainability [12:10]


Prioritizing sustainability

Switch is a technology infrastructure ecosystem corporation with a core business to design, construct, and operate the most advanced data centers. While headquartered in Las Vegas, Nevada, Switch also has locations in Northern Nevada, Michigan, Atlanta, and Texas. CEO and founder, Rob Roy, has prioritized sustainability since he founded the company. Switch believes data runs the planet and that working together can ensure it doesn’t harm the planet.

Regional Water Improvement Pipeline Project

Switch can now cool all of its data centers at its Northern Nevada campus on 100% recycled water while being powered by 100% renewable power. The company’s Northern Nevada campus in the Tahoe Reno Industrial Center is situated approximately 16 miles away from a water reclamation facility. This facility caters to the Reno and Sparks region, as well as Washoe County. Recognizing the potential benefits, Switch established a pipeline spanning 16 miles from the pump station. 

This pipeline will provide over 4,000 acre-feet of water to the industrial park, allowing the construction of around 30,000 more homes in the area. Furthermore, it will save ratepayers $30 million in maintenance costs for the water reclamation facility. Using water cooling is 30% more efficient than electricity.

Working together for sustainability

Switch collaborated with the State of Nevada and Storey County to establish a tax increment area to secure funding for the construction of a pipeline, which cost nearly $40 million. This successful collaboration involved numerous stakeholders, including Tesla and Google, and allowed for the use of 100% recycled water while promoting sustainability. This opportunity was a win for everyone involved as it helps each company with sustainability initiatives.


Resources & People Mentioned:

Connect with Alise Porto

Alise Porto joined the Switch team in 2015 and has held several key senior management roles, currently serving as Vice President of Sustainability & Strategic Initiatives. As an invaluable member of the Sustainability Team, she is responsible for the oversight of Switch’s environmental, social, and governance initiatives (ESG) and implementing sustainable energy and resource management strategies that align with the company’s overall policies and goals of being environmentally and socially sustainable, in partnership with the Policy team.

In addition, Porto leads Switch’s energy procurement strategy and energy resources, including Switch’s retail electric provider activities in Texas and various resource management initiatives. She similarly leads the development and execution of special projects associated with business development and innovative sustainable water resource management.

Alise received her degree from the University of Nevada Las Vegas and completed the University of California Berkeley Sustainable Capitalism & ESG program.

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