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Energy Peers in Indigenous Communities (EPIC) Network

The EPIC Network is aimed at building capacity, knowledge and skills on renewable energy in Indigenous communities in British Columbia  through the work of Community Energy Champions

About EPIC

The Energy Peers in Indigenous Communities (EPIC) Network is a program to build capacity, knowledge and skills related to renewable energy in Indigenous communities in British Columbia.

The program provides capacity-building funds to Indigenous communities to advance their energy goals related to community renewable energy. The intention is to build knowledge and skills related to renewable energy projects in Indigenous on–grid communities in BC.

EPIC supports a cohort of participants (called Community Energy Champions) through a peer-to-peer cohort and peer mentorship approach to building and sharing knowledge, networking and engagement, skills development and training on renewable energy.


EPIC Network Program Partners

Our program partners provide strategic guidance and oversight of the EPIC Network program:

  • New Relationship Trust (Learn more)
  • Natural Resources Canada’s Smart Renewables and Electrification Pathways Program
    (Learn more | Media release on EPIC)
  • Province of BC, Ministry of Energy, Mines, and Low Carbon Innovation
  • BC Hydro
  • FortisBC


EPIC Network Program Goals

  • To increase the capacity of Indigenous communities in BC to progress their community energy goals and to participate in the renewable energy sector
  • To provide opportunities for Indigenous communities to increase their energy resilience and to realize their energy independence and sovereignty goals
  • To empower Indigenous communities to take climate action to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions
  • To maximize community social and economic benefits of clean energy initiatives


EPIC Network Program Rationale

Indigenous representatives have indicated that community readiness is a significant barrier to implementing renewable energy projects. To enhance community readiness, the EPIC Network program focuses on capacity building through a peer-to-peer cohort networking model. The Program is designed to be flexible by providing training and support for different stages of “readiness” of communities and participants.

Peer-to-peer learning offers benefits outside the realm of traditional educational environments, such as increased cooperation and collaboration, knowledge-sharing, relationship-building and social benefits. In addition, being part of a cohort is an effective method of encouraging cross-community sharing and mutual support. These efforts aim to enhance equity, diversity and inclusion by increasing the representation of Indigenous groups in the renewable energy sector.


How the EPIC Network Program Works

Participating communities have completed contribution agreements with FBC to fund a Community Energy Champion until March 31, 2025. Participating communities are responsible for recruiting and hiring their Community Energy Champion, with support from the EPIC Network Lead.

To enhance the equity, diversity and inclusion of participants, FBC supports flexibility via part-time or flexible positions for the energy champion role to encourage gender balance and Culturally Relevant Gender Application Protocols (CRGAP), developed by the Native Women’s Association of Canada. Communities may elect to hire community energy champions to live and work in community, or to live and work remotely, depending on community needs and preferences.

Travel subsidies and stipends for childcare will be available to cohort members to support them in attending training and annual gatherings, to enhance accessibility, and to increase the potential diversity of participants by removing financial and other potential barriers to participation.

The Network Lead support the Community Energy Champion cohort as a whole to foster connection, build trusting relationships, and create meaningful learning and networking opportunities. The Network Lead works collaboratively with individual Community Energy Champions to develop their annual work plans and individual training plans to help advance their community’s renewable energy priorities.

Workplans and training plans can include coordinating community energy planning and implementation, demand side management, community engagement, renewable energy feasibility studies, project planning, design and engineering, project funding and project implementation.

The Network Lead works on delivering culturally sensitive training. This will include considering appropriate ceremony, engaging with Indigenous youth and Elders and other cultural elements as appropriate and supportive of creativity in community engagement.


Capacity Building for Community Energy Champions

Capacity-building activities for Community Energy Champions include:

  • networking opportunities with community energy champions, such as monthly team meetings and annual in-person gatherings
  • customized training and skills development
  • one-on-one mentorships with Indigenous subject matter experts
  • webinars on priority small-scale renewable energy topics

Training and skills development includes:

1)     Individual, customized training, and skills development

The EPIC Network Lead is working with the energy champions to develop annual training and skills development plans based on the distinct priorities, needs and preferences of each community. Participants define the outcome that they are aiming to achieve, take individual leadership and move at their own pace, with annual targets for individual training hours, based on community priorities and a menu of training options. There is an individual training budget for each network member.

2)     Group training

Group training includes 2–3 webinars per year on priority renewable energy topics, with input from the Community Energy Champions. Group training can also include professional development in areas such as project management, fundraising and grant writing, and Indigenous community engagement

3)     One-on-One mentorships

With Indigenous energy champions or industry subject matter experts on specific topics, such as community energy planning, renewable energy and energy storage project planning, energy efficiency, energy audits, heat pumps and solar PV installation.


Benefits of Renewable Energy

Indigenous communities can benefit from renewable energy project ownership. Some of these benefits include:

  • lower electricity costs as a result of renewable energy project ownership
  • increased energy resilience
  • increased energy independence and sovereignty
  • socioeconomic benefits from energy sector job creation, such as employment opportunities resulting from installation, operations and maintenance training and work


Program Administration

Fraser Basin Council




The Fraser Basin Council administers the EPIC Network under the terms of an agreement with Natural Resources Canada and works in collaboration with Indigenous communities, the New Relationship Trust, the Province of BC, FortisBC and BC Hydro.

For more information, contact program co-leads for the EPIC Network:

Kevin Good
Program Lead, EPIC Network

Sybil Zhang
Program Lead, EPIC Network


Our thanks the New Relationship Trust, the Province of British Columbia’s CleanBC program, BC Hydro and FortisBC for their generous support and guidance for the program.

We acknowledge that the work of the EPIC program has also benefited from leadership by the Coastal First Nations – Great Bear Initiative, which created the Indigenous Climate Action Network, a program that supports Indigenous leadership in climate action for remote communities across the province.



New Relationship Trust


 Natural Resources Canada

Federal funding for this project is provided by Natural Resources Canada’s Smart Renewables and Electrification Pathways Program, a $1.56-billion program that provides support for smart renewable energy and electrical grid modernization projects, including projects that support capacity building. See also Natural Resource Canada's media release on funding for the EPIC program.



 Province of British Columbia | CleanBC


BC Hydro



About the Fraser Basin Council

The Fraser Basin Council (FBC) is a charitable non-profit organization that brings people together to advance sustainability in British Columbia.

Where We Work

We are grateful to live and work on the unceded ancestral territories of the Indigenous Nations of British Columbia.

Our Vision

Social well-being supported by a vibrant economy and sustained by a healthy environment.

Strategic Priorities

At the Fraser Basin Council, our strategic priorities are to take action on climate change, support healthy watersheds and water resources, and build sustainable and resilient communities.

With our partners, we work on a range of collaborative, multi-sector initiatives, such as those focused on flood management, community wildfire planning, air quality improvement, energy-efficient buildings, green transportation (including the uptake of electric vehicles and expansion of charging infrastructure), watershed planning and youth-driven climate action projects.

FBC Program Sites

Plug in BC:


ReTooling for Climate Change:

FBC Youth:

Climate Action Toolkit: 

Salmon-Safe BC

Realizing UNDRIP Initiative

Contact Us

FBC staff work from our Vancouver, Kamloops, Williams Lake and Prince George offices, and from several other locations.

To reach us, see FBC Offices and FBC Staff or contact our administration office:

Fraser Basin Council
1st Floor, 470 Granville Street
Vancouver, BC V6C 1V5

T: 604 488-5350