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Renewable Energy in India: Entrepreneurship, Innovations and Challenges

Call for Proposals

Published on
23 Aug 2021
19 September 2021, 11:59 PM, IST (Extended Deadline) info.ejn [at] internews.org
Internews' Earth Journalism Network (EJN) is offering grants to boost reporting on renewable energy in India. Although we have a particular focus on Maharashtra, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, applications about renewable energy in all states and union territories will be welcome from journalists all over India.
Please read the following sections carefully, as they contain important information on eligibility and the application process.

Overview

Even as India was engulfed in the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, renewable energy continued to make strides. The country is expected to boast a cumulative installed wind capacity of 62.9 GW by 2025, and cumulative solar installations in India have reached 41 GW. A recent study by BloombergNEF revealed that India can already enjoy solar power generation that is cheaper than coal-based electricity.  

However, despite this progress, there are significant obstacles in the way of reaching the country’s RE goals, many of which stem from the rapidly changing policy environment in which India’s RE industry operates.

Issues with project financing, payment and electricity distribution have added to the worries faced by proponents of RE at a time when wind and solar power development, in particular, are showing promise.

For this grant round, we are looking to support 10 in-depth stories that explore entrepreneurship by RE developers and innovative RE applications apart from an addition to the energy grid. We are also looking for stories that explore policy, financing, payment and infrastructure hurdles and include efforts to overcome them.

The grants will support the production of in-depth stories on the prospects, problems and pathways forward for renewable energy, with the aim of improving the quality of information on the subject and raising awareness among policymakers, project developers, entrepreneurs, investors and consumers.

Although we will give preference to proposals that deal with the RE scenario in the three states of Maharashtra, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, proposals from all over India are eligible, and we do expect to award grants to journalists working in other states.

The story grants are provided as part of EJN’s Renewable Energy Reporting in India project implemented by Internews with generous funding from the Hewlett Foundation.

Story approach & format

EJN expects to award 10 grants averaging Rs 90,000 each, depending on the proposal and method of coverage, with some flexibility for in-depth and data-driven stories using innovative and investigative approaches that may be more costly to produce. Applicants should provide a detailed budget with justification for the amount requested. We expect that proposals will largely reflect what equipment the applicant already has access to (including cameras, lighting, tripods etc.) and will not consider budgets that heavily focus on procuring new equipment. Freelancers should clearly indicate their fee component in the budget.

We encourage the use of multimedia. Applicants for long-form and multimedia narratives should include plans and budget for accompanying multimedia elements such as data visualizations, video clips and photos.

Stories can be produced in English or local languages, or both. We encourage applications from journalists working in local languages and reporting for local media outlets. However, for wider dissemination, an English translation should be provided. Please include the cost of translation in the budget, if necessary.

Eligibility

Applications are open to India-based journalists (online, print, television, radio) and other expert media practitioners with a demonstrated interest in reporting on the RE sector, or other topics related to energy and the environment. We shall give preference to journalists who regularly cover economy, business and energy beats. To ensure equal opportunities and diversity of voices, we especially encourage applications from women, young journalists and journalists from Indigenous communities.

We are seeking applications from freelancers and staff from all types of media outlets – international, national, local and community-based. Those who are awarded grants should publish or broadcast their stories in their affiliated media as long as EJN and its partner outlets are also given rights to edit, publish, broadcast and distribute the grantees’ stories freely afterward. Freelancers should demonstrate a plan for publication or broadcast and are encouraged to provide a letter of interest from an editor.

Judging criteria

Applicants should consider the following points when devising their story proposals:

  • Timing: We expect the proposed story or stories to be published by the end of November 2021.
  • Relevance: Does the proposal meet the criteria and objectives? Why does this story matter and to whom? Is the main idea, context and overall value to the target audience clearly defined?
  • Angle: If the story has been covered by other media outlets, does your proposal bring new insights into the topic or offer a fresh angle? 
  • Impact: Does the proposal have a compelling narrative or investigative element that will inform and engage, draw attention, trigger debate and urge action? 
  • Innovative storytelling: The use of creative approaches and data visualization will be considered a plus.
  • Feasibility. Can the story be realistically completed within the given time frame? Is the budget realistic?
  • Diversity: We will take gender and geographical distribution into account when selecting the grantees in addition to the criteria above.


Application process

  1. Click the 'Apply now' button at the top of the page. 
  2. If you have an existing account, you'll need to log in. If not, you must register for an account by clicking "Join the Network" on the top right of the page. 
  3. If you start the application and want to come back and complete it later, you can click 'Save Draft.' To return to the draft, you'll need to go back to the opportunity and click 'Apply now' again to finalize the application. 
  4. Applications should provide a detailed budget with justification for the amount requested. Download the budget template here. We expect that proposals will largely rely on the use of equipment the applicant already has access to (including cameras, drones, lighting, tripods, etc.) and will not consider budgets that heavily focus on procuring new supplies. We will consider some costs for the reporters’ salary, particularly if the applicant is a freelancer, but this should be a small portion of the total budget. Please include the cost for translation, if necessary. Please also note on your budget form if you are receiving funding from any other donors for the story. 
  5. You must submit two samples of stories or links to relevant work. You'll be asked to upload these as part of the application process.

If you encounter any difficulties submitting your application or have questions about the grants, please email [email protected].

Banner image: Wind turbines in Chitradurga, Karnataka / Credit: Pankaj Kaushal on Flickr.

 

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