STIP Innovation Interns Reveal Insights on Smart Grids and the Georgia Film Industry

Two School of Public Policy graduate students selected as 2012 Georgia Innovation Program for Science, Technology and Innovation Policy (STIP) Interns presented their summer research findings on green energy and tax incentives for Hollywood to community policy developers at the Centergy Building on September 11, 2012.

Lyndsey Knott, a masters student, studied the state business tax credits that have encouraged the entertainment industry to see Georgia as a lucrative location for filming. Knott researched the film tax credit, in part, due to the recent surge.

"I was most surprised to learn how few states measure the economic impact of tax incentives," Knott said, regarding her research. "Many states are increasing film tax incentives, but research from institutes, such as The National Tax Foundation, argue that film tax incentives are a waste of taxpayer dollars. Millions of dollars in off-set liability due to film tax incentives are claimed yearly in the state of Georgia."

Shan Zhou, a doctoral student, researched employment and cost impacts of smart grid infrastructures to identify policies that promote energy savings, as well as economic growth.

"While the benefits that smart grid brings to our environment and power system are extensively studied, there is very scarce literature on the social and economic benefits of it," Zhou said. "I hope my research could provide a more comprehensive picture of the virtues of smart grid to policy makers."

Zhou said that Georgia is one of the key state players in smart grid manufacturing, receiving $100 million in federal funds to modernize grids.

"Georgia can better capture the economic and employment benefits of smart grid by adopting more aggressive net metering policy," she said.

STIP operates as a part of the Enterprise Innovation Institute and the School of Public Policy. The STIP internship is a competitive, paid internship program which affords recipients a chance to conduct economic development research with mentors and industry leaders within the state of Georiga.

"The program provides a valuable opportunity for the researcher to interact with local economic developers," said Knott.

Jan Youtie, a representative of the program and a principal research associate at the Enterprise Institute, says the internship is defined both by student leadership and ties to the local community.

"While the traditional internship views the intern as a subordinate, the interns in this program manage their own ideas, with substantial help from seasoned mentors, and turn these ideas into research that can form the basis for professional papers or dissertations as well as for economic development ideas in the state of Georgia," Youtie said.

The 2012 internship applications were evaluated by area industry leaders:

  • Mr. Dennis Chastain, Vice President, Community and Economic Development, Georgia EMC
  • Mr. Mark Lytle, Division Director, Georgia Centers of Innovation, Georgia Department of Economic Development
  • Ms. Pat Sims, Manager, Community Development – Metro, Georgia Power Company

Four Georgia Tech students were awarded internships. Thirty students have received internships through the program since its inception in the summer of 2005.

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  • Georgia Innovation STIP Interns, 2012

  • Lyndsey Knott

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Rebecca Keane