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Renewable Energy in India: Prospects and Potential Challenges of the Sector Beyond Solar

Call for Proposals

Published on
09 Aug 2022
12 September 2022, 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

Developing countries – like India – are at the forefront of the energy transition, rolling out policies and reforms to shift away from fossil fuels and facilitate the growth of the renewable energy sector.  

A total of $14.5 billion was invested in renewable energy in India in the 2021-22 financial year, a record level marked by a 125% increase compared to the previous year, according to a new report from the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis.

Despite this exponential growth, India is projected to miss its ambitious 2022 solar and wind capacity targets by about 27% and 18%, respectively. What are the factors holding back the growth of the sector? How can India diversify its renewable energy sources and overcome existing obstacles to meet its massive renewable energy potential – and at the same time, its fast-growing energy demand? What measures are in place to ensure the energy transition is rolled out in an equitable manner, and does not leave vulnerable populations behind?

As part of this grant round, we will support the production of in-depth stories on the prospects, problems and pathways forward for renewable energy, with a focus on renewable energy sources beyond solar, and initiatives to ensure the equitable access to and uptake of RE among marginalized communities. In addition to funding, selected journalists will receive support from experienced mentors through the story production process.

The story grants are provided as part of EJN’s Renewable Energy Reporting in India project, which aims to improve the quality of information on the subject and raise 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.
 

Story approach & format

For this grant opportunity, we welcome story ideas from journalists looking to explore:

  • The growth and potential challenges faced by the wind energy sector, including offshore wind
  • The prospects of more nascent forms of RE in India: geothermal energy, tidal energy, etc. 
  • Technological developments to improve energy storage systems
  • Policy measures and reforms to promote green hydrogen
  • The nexus between climate, food security and the growing demand for biofuels
  • Clean mobility and its associated trade-offs
  • The existing gaps in access to sustainable energy and efforts to improve women’s and marginalized communities’ access to RE
  • Scientific innovations and policy initiatives to scale RE capacity to meet India’s climate targets by 2050
     

We aim to support the production of stories that raise awareness about renewable energy and drive conversation among communities and policy makers at the local, national, and regional level. Proposals that focus on topics or stories that have not been widely covered are preferred. Issues that have already received a lot of media coverage or don't provide unique angles to environmental or climate challenges are less likely to be selected.

Eligibility

Applications are open to India-based journalists and other expert media practitioners with a demonstrated interest in reporting on the RE sector, or other topics related to energy and the environment.

Groups of journalists are eligible. However, the application must be made in the name of one lead applicant. Lead applicants are responsible for communicating with EJN and receiving funds on the group’s behalf, if awarded.

To ensure equal opportunities and a diversity of voices, we especially encourage applications from women, young journalists and journalists from Indigenous communities.

For the purposes of this grant opportunity, we will only be accepting applications in English. Unfortunately, we do not have the capacity to consider applications in other languages at this time. Applicants must either have a working understanding of English or have a translator available to assist with communication with Internews staff.

Applications are open to journalists working in any medium (online, print, television, radio) and other expert media practitioners with professional reporting experience. We welcome applications from early-career journalists and experienced reporters with a track record of covering renewable energy issues. We will give preference to journalists who regularly cover economy, business and energy beats. We encourage applications from freelance reporters and staff from all types of media organizations – international, national, local and community-based.

EJN reserves the right to disqualify applicants from consideration if they have been found to have engaged in unethical or improper professional conduct.
 

Story logistics

We expect to award story grants with an average budget of ~$1,200 each.

We plan to issue grants in September 2022 with the expectation that all stories will be published by the end of November 2022 at the latest. Applicants should consider this timeline when drafting their workplan.

Safety: We encourage reporters to follow best practices for Covid-19 when out in the field so you do not endanger yourself or the people you’re interviewing. If needed, you should include any Covid-related costs, such as tests or personal protective equipment, in your budget.

Language of publication: Stories can be produced in any language. We encourage applications from journalists working in local languages and reporting for local media outlets. However, applicants who intend to write or produce stories in their local language need to also include an English translation. Please include the cost for translation in the budget, if necessary.

Story budget: All applicants are required to provide a detailed budget with justification for the amount requested using the template provided below. We ask that the budgets be reasonable and account for costs necessary for reporting, such as travel and accommodation. Please also note on your budget form if you are receiving funding from any other donors for the story.

Generally speaking, applications with smaller budgets will be more competitive, but we will consider larger grant amounts for stories using innovative, collaborative or investigative approaches that may be more resource-intensive and time-consuming.

We expect that proposals will largely reflect what equipment the applicant already has access to (including cameras, drones, lighting, tripods, etc.) and will not consider budgets that heavily focus on procuring new equipment.

We will consider a stipend for the reporters’ salary, particularly if the applicant is a freelancer. Please estimate the time you’ll need to complete this story and propose compensation you believe reflects a fair market rate. We ask, however, that this comprises no more than 30% of the total budget.

Acknowledgement of EJN support:  Published stories and/or broadcasts must disclose EJN support by including this tagline: “This story was produced with support from Internews’ Earth Journalism Network.”

Republication rights: Those who are awarded grants are free to publish or broadcast their stories first in their affiliated media as long as Internews’ EJN and its partners are also given rights to edit, publish, broadcast and distribute them freely.
 

Judging criteria

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

  • Relevance: Does the proposal meet the criteria and objectives of the call? 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, does your proposal bring new insights to 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 spur action?
  • Innovative storytelling: The use of creative approaches, multimedia and data visualization will be considered a plus.
  • Plan for timely publication: Reporters, whether freelance or employed at a media outlet, will need to include a letter of support from an editor in their application, committing to publish the stories by the end of November 2022. No extensions will be granted.  

 

Application process

  • Click the 'Apply now' button at the top of the page.
  • If you have an existing account, you'll need to log in. Since we recently updated our website, you might have to reset your password by clicking the “Forgot password?” link in the log in page. If you don’t have an account, you must register by clicking “Log in” on the top right of the page and click the “Sign up” link at the bottom of the page that opens. Click here for detailed instructions on how to create an account, and here for detailed instructions on how to reset your password.
  • 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.
  • Applications should provide a detailed budget in an Excel spreadsheet with justification for the amount requested. Download the budget template now by clicking on this link.
  • All applicants are required to provide a signed letter of support from their editor, explicitly stating that the media outlet will publish the stories produced as a result of this grant.
  • Applicants will also need to submit two samples of stories or links to relevant work.

Note: You'll be asked to upload these supporting documents once you start the application process, so please have them handy.

If you encounter difficulties with submitting your application or have questions about the grants, please email [email protected]. Do not contact any other Internews email regarding this opportunity, as we will not receive it.

Applications submitted after the deadline will not be considered.


Banner image: Workshop participant Karishma Mehrotra and guest speaker Anita Varghese from Keystone Foundation on a field visit to the Ramco Muppandal farm near Kanyakumari, Tamil Nadu. / Credit: Aarushi Tanwar.

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